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Plymouth Couple Sues Maker of Diet Pill

Federal suit claims use of weight-loss supplement containing ephedra caused stroke

Mar 31, 2004 | MATTHEW S. GALBRAITH

A Plymouth couple seeks to hold the maker and distributor of a dietary product responsible for a debilitating stroke the man suffered.

David and Patricia Hintz, who live on Third Road, filed a federal lawsuit last week. They claim the weight-loss pills he took caused a blood vessel to burst, resulting in a hemorrhagic stroke on the right side of his brain.

The product, TrimSpa, contained ephedrine or ephedra, which the defendants should have known can cause serious harm, including strokes, or death to users, the suit says.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration took final action in February to ban the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra because of health risks.

David Hintz, 49, was hospitalized for several weeks after the stroke, the suit says, and his life activities have been severely restricted since then.

In a Tribune story published in early January, Hintz said numbness, pain and swelling in his legs ended his 19-year career as a sheet metal worker.

Defendants are Goen Technologies Corp., Nutramerica Corp. and TrimSpa, a division of Goen. All are based in New Jersey and were involved in the manufacture, marketing and distribution of TrimSpa, the suit says.

A TrimSpa spokesman said Tuesday the complaint has not been served and he could not comment on it.

The company makes and sells a new ephedra-free product and, of local interest, is a sponsor of NASCAR driver David Stremme of South Bend.

According to the suit, David Hintz began taking TrimSpa at the recommended dosage of one tablet three times a day in early January 2003. He suffered a stroke about a month later.

Since then, he has experienced severe physical pain and mental anguish, suffered permanent injuries, and incurred substantial hospital and medical bills and lost wages, the suit says.

The defendants, the suit adds, assured the product was safe for weight-loss treatment when they knew or should have known the dangerous health risks associated with its use.

The suit seeks compensatory damages and costs.


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