The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 6:15 am

Lawsuit blames acute liver failure on herbal product

Rebecca S. Green The Journal Gazette

An Allen County woman is suing direct-marketing company Arbonne International in Allen Superior Court, claiming the company’s herbal supplements made her sick.

According to a lawsuit filed this week by Vicki L. Swanson, the company’s “30-Day Feeling Fit Kit” caused her to suffer from acute liver failure brought on by toxic levels of green tea extracts.

Wooed by a promise from the company that the kit would “take the guesswork out of getting fit,” Swanson began using the products in May 2013, and the kit contained a number of items such as protein shakes, a daily fiber boost and herbal detox tea, according to court documents.

But about six weeks later, she found herself suffering from symptoms including lethargy and jaundice, according to court documents.

Swanson was admitted to a hospital, diagnosed with acute liver failure and her condition continued to deteriorate. Eventually she received treatment at the IU Medical Center in Indianapolis. The cause of her liver failure was found to be toxic levels of green tea extracts, according to the complaint.

According to court documents, Swanson had no history of liver disease, and her only source of green tea extracts were the products contained in the “30-Day Feeling Fit Kit.”

She is suing the company, seeking compensation for her losses. Swanson is accusing Arbonne of being liable for a product that was dangerous and defective, breaching its warranties and negligence, according to court documents.

An email message sent to the company seeking comment was not returned Friday, and a person at the company directed questions to the website and the original email address contacted.

The California company is a direct-seller, offering makeup, skin-care products and other items through network marketing.

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