USPLabs continues to face liver damage lawsuits over a recall of OxyElite Pro and Jack3d dietary supplements issued last year, leading the manufacturer to file a second request that all litigation pending in the federal court system be centralized before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
At least 17 separate product liability lawsuits have been filed by 46 different individuals who allege that they suffered liver damage or hepatitis after using OxyElite Pro or Jack3d. In some cases, plaintiffs indicate that they have required liver transplants due to the injuries.
The cases stem from an OxyElite Pro recall issued late last year, amid a spike in reports of liver injury and deaths among users of the dietary supplements.
OxyElite Pro Lawsuits
All of the complaints involve similar allegations that USPLabs used unsafe ingredients in its products and failed to adequately warn consumers of the risks of liver damage associated with OxyElite Pro and Jack3d supplements.
In February, the manufacturer filed a request with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) asking that the OxyElite Pro litigation be centralized to reduce duplicative discovery in the cases, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the witnesses, parties and the courts. Following a hearing the following month, the panel rejected the request (PDF), indicating that the cases did not require centralization since there were several different formulations involved with the products that there may not be a lot of overlapping discovery in the cases.
The panel of MDL judges determined that voluntary coordination between the cases would be the best route for all parties. At that time the litigation consisted of approximately nine cases.
As additional cases have continued to be filed, USPLabs filed another petition (PDF) on September 11, seeking to establish a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for all OxyElite Pro and Jack3d lawsuits. The manufacturer points out that claims have been filed on behalf of more than 40 new plaintiffs since the panel originally rejected their first request.
USPLabs argues that all of the pending cases remain in their preliminary stages, that it is difficult to coordinate between them, and that the cases would benefit from the establishment of an OxyElite Pro MDL. The company notes that 44 of the 46 plaintiffs involved claim to have contracted a liver-related illness after using the company’s products.
The company has asked that the cases be consolidated in the Southern District of California, or, alternately, in the Northern District of Texas.
OxyElite Pro Liver Damage
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.
While most of the original OxyElite Pro liver injury cases were found in Hawaii, including several individuals who required liver transplants and at least one death linked to the supplement, a growing number of reports involving OxyElite Pro problems have surfaced throughout the contiguous United States as well.