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Driven Sports faces another class action suit over Craze pre-workout supplement

By Andrew Thomason | Dec 16, 2013

A Peoria County man has filed a class action lawsuit seeking more than $5 million from a supplement manufacturer that allegedly included an illegal methamphetamine analog in the pre-workout supplement Craze.

Andrew Stewart filed his complaint against Driven Sports Inc. Dec. 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois through his attorneys, Joseph Siprut and Gregg Barbakoff of Siprut P.C. in Chicago.

Electronic court records show that Stewart's suit marks at least the second class action complaint filed against Driven Sports over Craze. It appears the first was filed last month in California.

According to Stewart's suit, Driven Sports, a New York-based business, lists items like creatine, citrulline and caffeine in the supplement facts for Craze, but does not list N,α-dimethylphenethylamine, or N,α-DEPEA.

N,α-DEPEA has “a potency somewhere between methamphetamine and ephedrine, both of which are banned substances,” Stewart asserts in his suit.

Craze's inclusion of this compound was reported earlier this year in an article by NSF International, Harvard Medical School and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands in the journal “Drug Testing and Analysis.”

The authors of the article call the compound a potentially dangerous designer drug, but concede that the effects on people are unknown because of a lack of testing.

Driven Sports disputed the results in the article, claiming that what the tests were showing was a different supplement that is listed on the Craze label.

The recently-filed complaint does not cite the original “Drug and Testing Analysis” article, but does point to media reports about the study.

Stewart claims he bought Craze about a year ago to use it for its advertised purpose and results. Had he known it contained a methamphetamine analog, Stewart asserts he wouldn’t have bought it.

He contends that if Driven Sports isn’t “restrained and enjoyed,” it will continue to sell Craze as is, not listing the methamphetamine analog as an ingredient in the pre-workout supplement.

In October, Driven Sports put a statement on its blog regarding media attention over Craze that stated although studies "have consistently indicated that Craze does not contain amphetamines or controlled substances," it suspended the production and sale of the supplement several months ago while it investigated media reports.

Its website lists Craze as "currently out of stock," but it appears that other workout sites and individuals still sell the supplement.

Stewart's suit claims that Driven Sports violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act by failing to list the methamphetamine compound under "supplement facts" on both the tub of the product and on its website.

It also alleges that Driven Sports inclusion of the drug violates the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by using an unapproved new drug, selling a product that is a misbranded drug and through its general deception regarding ingredients in Craze.

The suit further contends that Driven Sports violated Illinois Implied Warranty of Merchantability law, which requires products to fulfill their advertised purpose in a reasonably safe way.

“Defendant’s 'Craze' pre-workout supplement does not achieve the ordinary purposes of a pre-workout supplement in a reasonably safe manner because it contains” a meth-like compound, Stewart states in his complaint.

He is asking for restitution, Driven Sports' revenues from the sales of Craze, statutory damages, attorneys’ fees and an enjoinment against Driven Sports from selling Craze in its current state.

The complaint estimates the cost of potential damages to be more than $5 million. It also proposes the creation of a multi-state class consisting of all people who bought Craze and whose states have consumer fraud laws.

In the alternative, Stewart's suit proposes an Illinois class that would only include Illinois residents who purchased the supplement.

According to electronic court records, a similar class action suit over Craze was filed against Driven Sports in November in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

A Nov. 13 order in that case shows that the California suit was assigned to the court's Alternative Dispute Resolution Multi-Option Program with an initial status conference set for March 13, 2014.

Court records also show that Matt Cahill, Driven Sports’ owner, has previously served time in prison for selling and transporting an industrial chemical as a weight loss supplement.

In addition, records show that California's U.S. Attorney filed information in August 2012 charging Cahill with introducing Rebound XT, a supplement that allegedly contains an unapproved drug, into the market in 2008. Nothing, however, has been filed in that case since August of last year.

Reporter Bethany Krajelis contributed to this report.

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