January 23, 2004
SANTA MONICA, Calif.--An individual, on behalf of users in the state of California, filed a class action suit Jan. 21 against the makers of TrimSpa, the weight-loss supplement that once contained ephedra and is currently marketed as ephedra-free with Anna Nicole Smith as its spokesmodel. The complaint names Nutramerica Corp., TrimSpa Corp., Goen Technologies Corp., General Nutrition Co., and Alex Szynalski, the altar ego of Goen Technologies.
The suit alleges the defendants practiced false and misleading advertising. The suit also alleges TrimSpa Completely Ephedra Free (EF) replaced ephedra with Hoodia gordonii, another appetite suppressant that is thus equivalent to the use of ephedra in such products. However, the plaintiffs allege TrimSpa EF does not contain the component P57 in Hoodia gordonii (a member of the Asclepiadaceae family) that is responsible for appetite suppression--nor any other appetite suppressants. As such, the defendants have engaged in false and misleading advertising by misrepresenting the ingredients, and the effects of said ingredients, contained in TrimSpa EF, the complaint read.
The plaintiff is asking for monetary damages and injunctive relief, as well as a halt against advertising the sale and use of TrimSpa EF.
The suits plaintiff, Belkis La Rosa, brought the complaint on behalf of herself and all persons who purchased or consumed TrimSpa EF in the state of California.
Section 17200 under the California Business & Professions Code makes it so a person can sue individually and on behalf of the public for a violation of any act that is unlawful, unfair or fraudulent. "A traditional liability case would be an easier case to try," Michael Mallow, a defense lawyer at Kirkpatrick and Lockhart, told INSIDER. "Instead, this is a case of you said you have this, and you didn't." Is this lawsuit worth the ensuing legal headaches? "The impact of a case like this is to have retailers looking for manufacturers that are consistently reliable," Mallow said.
TrimSpa is currently the subject of another lawsuit out of New Jersey, where the states attorney general is suing the company for using seminars and advertisements to sell its ephedra-based TrimSpa without regard for consumer health. More on that story can be found at www.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/3c1govern07.html.
TrimSpa was not reached by press time.
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