Earlier this year, 5-Hour Energy manufacturer Innovation Ventures LLC d/b/a Living Essentials was hit with a series of class action lawsuits alleging that its claims of increased energy without the subsequent “crash” were false. Innovation subsequently moved to dismiss those suits. Last week, the manufacturer found out that it must continue litigating at least one of those suits after a Florida federal judge denied its motion.
At issue in these cases is 5-Hour Energy’s product statement, “Hours of energy now – No crash later.” As self-proclaimed coffee connoisseurs, we are a little too old fashioned to know the effectiveness of an energy drink’s claim. Apparently, enough consumers to organize into three putative classes think the product statement is a bit of a stretch.
In one of the suits, Guarino v. Innovation Ventures LLC, d/b/a Living Essentials, No. 13-cv-00101-GPM-PMF (S.D. Illinois 2013), the plaintiffs allege that the product statement “is not true, as admitted on the Defendant’s website and hidden behind the bottles in the display, which reads: ‘No crash means no sugar crash.’” So Innovation is falsely advertising a product by placing true statements on its website and directly on the bottle? Now we see why Innovation filed those motions to dismiss in the first place.
While its motion to dismiss may have been denied, Innovation may still ultimately prevail in this suit. Pleading sufficient allegations to survive a motion to dismiss does not necessarily make a good case. Unfortunately for Innovation, it now must embroil itself in hours of litigation defending the case. For their sake, let’s hope there is no awful crash afterwards.