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Herbal Supplements Lawsuit Seeks Compensation from Arbonne for Liver Failure

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Fort Wayne, INInstead of an expectation of “feeling fit” in 30 days, a woman from Allen County Indiana alleges that she was left instead with acute liver failure brought on by toxic levels of green tea extracts in the herbal supplements she had been using. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (5/23/15) reports that plaintiff Vicki L. Swanson has launched an herbal supplements lawsuit against Arbonne International, a company that sells herbal supplements, together with other products, through direct marketing.

The herbal supplements lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, references Arbonne’s so-called “30-Day Feeling Fit Kit,” and a related promise that the product would “take the guesswork out of getting fit.” The “kit” carried a number of products and herbal supplements, including but not limited to protein shakes, a daily boost of fiber and a product identified as herbal detox tea. Finding the claim related to the Fit Kit attractive, Swanson alleges she began using the products in May of 2013.

However, according to court documents, Swanson soon began suffering symptoms of lethargy and jaundice after about six weeks of using the products. Upon admission to the hospital, Swanson was subsequently diagnosed with acute liver failure. As her condition continued to worsen, Swanson was eventually treated at UI Medical Center at Indianapolis, where it was determined that the cause of her liver failure were the green tea extracts in her system that were found to be at toxic levels.

Herbal supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same fashion as foodstuffs. Listings, on product labels of ingredients and the levels at which they are contained in the product, are strictly voluntary.

The plaintiff notes in her herbal supplements lawsuit that the green tea extract she ingested from the Arbonne product was her only source of the substance. She also notes there is no history of liver disease or liver failure in her family.

Arbonne is based in California and sells direct to consumers, marketing a variety of products including makeup and skin care products as well as herbal supplements.

Swanson accuses Arbonne of vending defective products and is suing for negligence and breach of warranty. The plaintiff is seeking unspecified compensation for her suffering.

The herbal supplements lawsuit is Vicki L. Swanson v. Arbonne International LLC, Case No. 1:15-cv-158-JD-SLC, US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division.

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