Hydroxycut Litigation Over Recalled Supplement Consolidated in MDL

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has ordered that the federal Hydroxycut litigation, involving claims for liver damage and other health problems allegedly caused by the recalled dietary supplement, will be consolidated and centralized for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

According to an order issued October 6, there are at least 16 Hydroxycut lawsuits pending against the manufacturer, Iovate Health Sciences, in 12 different federal districts throughout the United States. Following a hearing last month, the panel determined that all of the cases involve sufficiently similar questions of fact to justify consolidation into an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. There are also six other cases which were not included in the initial order, but which the panel said may be transferred later as tag-along cases.

Hydroxycut is a dietary supplement and weight-loss aid that was recalled on May 1, 2009, after the FDA identified a number of reports where users suffered serious and potentially life-theatening liver damage. The FDA also reported that use of Hydroxycut was linked to reports of seizures, heart problems and a rare muscle damaging condition known as rhabdomyolysis.

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All of the cases in the litigation over Hydroxycut involve allegations that Iovate Health Sciences failed to adequately research their weight-loss products or warn about potential side effects prior to issuing the Hydroxycut recall.

An MDL is designed to avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings in similar cases spread throughout the country, eliminate repeat discovery on issues that are common to all cases and to serve the convenience of the parties, the witnesses and the court. While the cases will be consolidated for pretrial litigation, each Hydroxycut claim will remain an individual lawsuit and if a settlement or other resolution is not reached, they may be returned back to the jurisdiction where they were originally filed for trial.

Some plaintiffs sought to avoid having their cases included in an MDL, saying the facts in their cases were too disparate. Others sought for the MDL to be created in a different federal district, but the judicial panel overrode those objections and placed the cases under U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz, saying that there were already several cases in his court, and he is a judge experienced with handling complex multi-district litigation.

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  • TonyaNovember 8, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I used Hydroxycut for 7 years and in that time I was hospitalized for elevated liver enzymes at 1297, kidney failure, and I am still extremely sick. At the time my doctors could not give me a reason for all of my medical problems, now it makes perfect sense. Whatever Iovate Health Sciences has to pay will never be enough for all the suffering they caused.

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