A 37-year-old man who alleges he suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage after taking male enhancement pills he bought through Amazon.com can move forward with his allegations of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unfair business practices, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan ruled that Jeffery Sapp of Upland had provided enough facts for now to support those claims, which are among 10 causes of action filed in the complaint originally brought in February 2019 against Amazon. Others include strict products liability, negligence and failure to warn.
Sapp's wife, 38-year-old Renae Sapp, is suing for loss of consortium.
The Sapps bought Rhino 50K pills on the Amazon.com website for about $15, relying on statements made on the website that the pills were "natural,'' were a "supplement'' and did not need a doctor's prescription, the suit states.
Amazon.com should have disclosed on the website and on the product packaging that Rhino 50K contained or was likely to contain prescription drugs, that many other Rhino products had been flagged by the Food and Drug Administration for containing undisclosed prescription drugs and that Amazon had doubts as to the purity and safety of all Rhino products in general, the suit alleges.
Rhino products have undisclosed and unapproved ingredients that carry extreme side effects, the suit alleges.
"Consumers simply have no way of knowing what their Rhino product will actually do to them,'' the suit states.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
Sapp says he ingested his first Rhino 50K pill in October 2017 and followed instructions on the package to take one pill a week. On Nov. 20, 2017, he suffered cardiac arrest due to the presence of pharmaceutical drugs contained within the Rhino 50K pill he'd taken just days prior, the suit alleges.
"Mr. Sapp collapsed in his home in front of his family, including his wife,'' the suit states.
Sapp spent months in the hospital and needed a tracheotomy to help him breathe, according to his court papers, which say he sustained brain damage and paralysis.
He additionally suffered memory loss and lost the ability to walk, work and live independently, and has undergone therapy to re-learn many skills and improve his memory, the suit states.
Amazon attorney Max L. Rothman argued that Amazon had no actual knowledge that the Rhino pills allegedly contained pharmaceutical drugs and therefore the company was therefore not liable for fraud.
"The FDA didn't know, so how did Amazon know?,'' Rothman asked.
But plaintiffs' attorney Steven J. Lipscomb said the product was advertised as "natural, safe and effective and it's not.''
The judge said Rothman made some good points, but that at this stage
of the case he was not going to dismiss any of the causes of action.