Pa. plaintiff sues makers of weight loss product for allegedly causing liver toxicity

By Jon Campisi | Apr 12, 2013

A Pennsylvania woman is suing the makers of a weight loss product over claims that she

suffered liver toxicity after ingesting the supplement in the spring of 2011.

Karen Jacobs-Poles and her husband, Dwayne Poles, who reside in Springfield Township, Delaware County, filed a complaint at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia April 10 against Delaware-based Wellnx Life Sciences USA, SLIMQUICK Laboratories and Platinum US Distribution Inc., as well as Ontario-based Wellnx Life Sciences Inc., which does business as NXLabs and NXCare Inc., and Global Health Technologies over claims that the defendants’ product, SLIMQUICK Ultra Fat Burner caused Karen to sustain serious physical injuries.

According to the complaint, Karen Jacobs-Poles went to her physician in late May 2011, about a month after she began taking the product, with complaints about scleral ictus, or yellowing of the eyes.

The doctor tested the woman’s blood for liver function, after which Karen was told her levels were high and she should go to the emergency room of a local hospital.

Karen ended up being diagnosed with jaundice, grossly elevated liver function tests, and acute hepatitis; a subsequent ultrasound showed that the plaintiff had an enlarged liver, according to the lawsuit.

Karen, the suit alleges, went on to receive testing for hepatitis, HIV, Wilson’s Disease and other known causes of acute liver toxicity, and her only new exposure appeared to be her ingestion of SLIMQUICK.

Physicians noted that Karen had “grossly abnormal LFTs in the setting of recent weight loss with use of OTC herbal remedy,” the complaint reads.

She was subsequently referred to a gastroenterologist, who also noted that the only “culprit” appeared to be the drug supplement.

The plaintiff immediately stopped taking the weight loss product after developing jaundice, the suit states.

Karen had no known history of liver disease or autoimmune disease.

The complaint states that Karen continues to suffer from serious liver damage and regularly sees a gastroenterologist.

The lawsuit accuses the makers of Slimquick, which was first introduced around 2005, of putting a product on the market that contains ingredients known to be harmful to human health, and, in particular, toxic to the liver.

The two ingredients singled out as being known “hepatoxins,” the lawsuit states, are camellia sinensis, or green tea extract, and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, which is a plant that contains hydroquinone, a known liver toxin.

“The Defendants knew, or should have known, that SLIMQUICK contained ingredients that cause injury to humans and, in particular, liver injury,” the suit reads.

While the defendants failed to warn of the risk of liver toxicity with SLIMQUICK use, the suit states, the product’s boxes instruct users to cease ingestion if the consumer experiences nausea, abdominal pain, dark urine or jaundice.

“These are all symptoms of liver failure, indicating Defendants were well aware of the association between SLIMQUICK and liver toxicity,” the suit states.

The complaint contains counts of negligence, design defect, failure to warn, misrepresentation, breach of express and implied warranties, and loss of consortium.

The plaintiffs seek more than $75,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

The suit was filed by Media, Pa. attorneys James C. Shah and Natalie Finkelman.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-01884-CMR.

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