Oregon's attorney general filed a lawsuit against the maker of 5-Hour Energy, alleging it made "deceptive and misleading claims" about its product, but a statement from the company fired back, saying Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has "nothing better to do."
The lawsuit says Living Essentials and Innovation Ventures, which makes 5-Hour Energy, used print, TV, internet and radio ads to claim it contains a unique blend of ingredients that give the people who drink it energy, alertness and focus. But Department of Justice officials say the reality is the only ingredient that provides any effect is the concentrated dose of caffeine.
"This lawsuit is about requiring truth in advertising," said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. "Plainly and simply, in Oregon you cannot promote a product as being effective if you don't have sufficient evidence to back up your advertising claims."
The lawsuit, filed in Multnomah Circuit Court, goes on to target 5-Hour Energy's claim that it will not cause consumers to experience a "crash," and it focuses on the company's claim that the drink has been recommended by doctors in a way that it has not.
5-Hour Energy's statement in response to the lawsuit says the company plans to fight the allegation.
"When companies are being bullied by someone in a position of power, these companies roll over, pay the ransom, and move on. We're not doing that," the statement said.
"Oregon's Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, is grasping at straws, and we will fight to defend ourselves against civil intimidation," the statement continues. "Ms. Rosenblum alleges that the only ingredient in 5-hour ENERGY that has any effect is the caffeine. If so, is Ms. Rosenblum going to sue Starbucks for selling coffee? Obviously she has nothing better to do."
In the hours following Oregon's announcement of a lawsuit against 5-Hour Energy, Washington joined in, announcing its own lawsuit. Their lawsuit seeks restitution for Washington state consumers, civil penalties up to $2,000, a permanent injunction that bans deceptive marketing practices and recovery of investigative and attorney fees.
Vermont also filed a similar lawsuit Thursday, and more states are expected to sue in the upcoming weeks.
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