A Hawaii resident filed a personal injury lawsuit on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Honolulu against the manufacturer/distributor and a retailer of OxyElite Pro tablets. Everine Van Houten sued Texas-based USPlabs, LLC, the manufacturer and distributor of the dietary supplement, and GNC Holdings, Inc. (GNC), global retailer of the product. A scheduling conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang on the Van Houten case is set for Feb. 10, 2014. OxyElite Pro tablets were recently recalled by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after an epidemiological and traceback investigation by FDA and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the product causes serious liver damage and/or other acute liver failure. Van Houten is represented by Seattle-based Marler Clark, the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness, and Michael F. O’Connor of Honolulu-based law firm of Ogawa, Lau, Nakamura & Jew. (Marler Clark underwrites Food Safety News.) Her attorneys charge that the recalled synthetic dietary supplement is responsible for an outbreak of acute liver failure and hepatitis among residents of Hawaii, including Van Houten. OxyElite Pro was marketed and sold for both muscle control and weight loss. GNC retail outlets in Hawaii sold OxyElite Pro. FDA found the supplement contains aegeline, a synthetic version of a natural extract from the Bael tree. Aegeline has not been proven to be safe and has not been approved by FDA for inclusion in dietary supplements. On Sept. 9, 2013, the Hawaii Department of Health learned that doctors on the islands were treating seven patients with severe acute hepatitis and liver failure who shared a history of consuming OxyElite Pro, according to the complaint. Following its investigation into cases involving liver failure and acute hepatitis, the health department announced on Oct. 8 that it was asking retailers to remove OxyElite Pro from store shelves. By Nov. 9, USPlabs recalled numerous lots and sizes of various formulations of OxyElite Pro dietary supplements due to epidemiologic evidence showing that the use of the products was associated with adverse health consequences. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper reported on Nov. 19 that health officials were planning on destroying more than $250,000 worth of OxyElite Pro products. Van Houten purchased two containers of OxyElite Pro from the GNC store located in the Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo in March 2013. She said she also received two sample-sized containers of a “new” formulation of OxyElite Pro as part of her purchase. Her attorneys state that Van Houten consumed both the regular OxyElite Pro tablets and the “new” formulation of OxyElite Pro over the next several months and that she was treated for symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue and muscle aches on numerous occasions at Hilo Medical Center during that time. Van Houten alleges that she underwent multiple tests and medical procedures to determine the nature and extent of her liver illness before she saw a September 2013 public health notice advising of a possible link between cases of acute hepatitis and OxyElite Pro products. According to the complaint, Van Houten’s liver illness was caused by her consumption of the OxyElite Pro product. Attorney Bruce Clark stated: “The liver injuries associated with this product are very severe. One would expect that companies selling a ‘wellness’ product would be scrupulous in ensuring the product is safe for consumers. That certainly does not appear to be the case with OxyElite Pro.” According to the complaint, Van Houten was unable to work through much of 2013 due to her acute hepatitis and related symptoms and medical care. Her attorneys claim that she continues to undergo testing and medical monitoring of her liver and continues to experience symptoms related to her liver injury.