Oregon, Washington, Vermont Join 33 States Suing over 5-Hour Energy Drink

by Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
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Oregon, Washington State and Vermont say the slogans for 5-Hour Energy drink are hype that is misleading. Last week the Attorneys General of all three states filed lawsuits against the drink’s maker, Living Essentials LLC and Innovation Ventures LLC of Farmington Hills, Michigan.

They are seeking civil penalties against the companies for the marketing which they claim is deceptive.

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Claims about 5-Hour energy promise consumers it is a special blend that delivers the potent energy that lasts and lasts and does not result in an energy crash. The truth is that 5-Hour Energy is concentrated caffeine. Calories provide energy and the drink is low calorie. Five-Hour energy also comes with a variety of B vitamins – B3, B6 and B12, but any way you slice it, it’s caffeine and many users report they have the side effects of too much caffeine. The amount of caffeine is roughly three times the amount in a coffee or cola.

The three states join 33 other states that are already investigating the claims used to boost sales of 5-Hour Energy drink.

Civil penalties could be leveled because false and misleading advertising violates the Oregon Trade Practices Act.

The makers of 5-Hour Energy have deep pockets and say this is civil intimidation and they will not “roll over, pay the ransom and move on,” according to a spokeswoman and reported by PBS.org.

The energy drink industry goes largely unregulated as some reports of fatalities have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Between 2008 and 2012, the Food and Drug Administration investigated 13 deaths that were reported to the FDA. Deaths resulted primarily from heart attacks and convulsions.

According to a published report in Pediatrics, there were nearly 5,000 overdoses in 2007, and half among teens who had consumed energy drinks.

That is not new. When researchers from the University of Bonn studied the images of the hearts of 17 individuals who drank an energy drink with 32 mg of caffeine and 400 mg of taurine, the left ventricle contracted intensely. That is the chamber of the heart that moves blood around the body and the peaks could be seen through MRI imaging.

For those individuals with heart disease, the impact is unknown, however, researchers believe anyone with an arrhythmia or an unstable, irregular heart beat should not consume energy drinks.

The company sells nine million bottles of the concentrated energy drink every week at about $2 each roughly translating to $18 million dollars in revenue weekly.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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