The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has scheduled oral arguments for March 27 to consider a motion to consolidate and centralize all OxyElite Pro lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide.
The complaints have been filed on behalf of former users of the dietary supplement who allege that they suffered liver damage or hepatitis from OxyElite Pro or Jack3d, which resulted in the need for liver transplants in some cases.
All of the lawsuits raise similar allegations that USPLabs, the manufacturer of the supplements, placed unsafe ingredients in OxyElite and Jack3d, and failed to adequately warn about the risk of serious liver damage.
Following an OxyElite Pro recall late last year, a growing number of product liability lawsuits have been filed against USPLabs throughout the federal court system.
Last month, the manufacturer filed a request with the U.S. JPML asking to consolidate the OxyElite litigation. As of January 13, there were at least nine cases have been filed in six different U.S. District Courts, but additional cases are expected in the coming weeks and months.
USPLabs has asked that all lawsuits be centralized in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the witnesses, parties and the courts.
At least two plaintiffs, Michael Campos and Jennifer Southwick, have already filed a Response (PDF) in opposition to the consolidation request, indicating that there are currently too few cases to warrant centralization as part of an OxyElite Pro MDL. The plaintiffs also indicate that trying to lump together the consumer class action lawsuits with individual personal injury lawsuits is inappropriate, and was only requested by the manufacturer in an attempt to make the case count look larger.
According to a hearing session order (PDF) issued by the U.S. JPML, oral arguments on the motion to establish an OxyElite Pro MDL will be heard on March 27, at the U.S. Courthouse Annex in San Diego, California.
OxyElite Pro Problems
Concerns about the safety of OxyElite Pro first surfaced in September 2013, when Hawaii health officials noted a growing number of liver injury and hepatitis claims from consumers who had all the supplement, which is designed to help users put on muscle mass.
After nearly 60 cases of OxyElite Pro liver damage were identified by state and federal agencies, the FDA forced USPLabs to remove the product from the market on November 10, 2013.
The FDA and other health agencies determined that the weight supplement contained aegeline, an extract from the Bael tree, which is native to India and southeast Asia. The FDA ruled that the product was adulterated because aegeline is relatively untested and its side effects are unknown.
Most of the OxyElite Pro liver injury cases identified to date have been found in Hawaii, including several individuals who required liver transplants and at least one death linked to the supplement. However, since the recall, a growing number of reports involving OxyElite Pro problems have surfaced throughout the contiguous United States.