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Company wants delay in weight loss lawsuit

The maker of Body Solutions says a glut of court cases is creating a logistical problem for the firm.

By CHASE SQUIRES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 24, 2002

DADE CITY -- The Texas company that markets a nighttime weight loss plan through radio disc jockeys has asked a judge to put a Dade City woman's lawsuit against the company on hold.

The reason? Mark Nutritionals, makers of Body Solutions, is being sued in so many other places that all the depositions and court procedures could hurt the company's productivity.

Janet Makinen, 51, of Dade City sued Mark Nutritionals in January. Her complaint claims she bought the liquid nighttime weight loss formula and gained weight.

The lawsuit seeks class action status for all Floridians who bought the product. But in a motion filed this month before Circuit Judge Maynard Swanson, Mark Nutritionals attorney Thomas Roehn argues the company is already busy with three similar lawsuits seeking federal class action status in Michigan, Ohio and Texas, as well as lawsuits seeking statewide class action status in Texas and California.

Having to deliver company officials to sit through depositions and court hearings across the country would mean "incredible disruption of its business," Roehn argued.

Roehn attached copies of the other lawsuits to his request. In one, a Michigan man's attorney estimates there are 105,000 Body Solutions customers in that state. In another, an Ohio woman claims when she tried to get her $207 back from Mark Nutritionals, the company said it viewed the request as "an attempt to defraud the merchant."

Another Ohio woman claimed she gained 17 pounds on the system. Roehn argues the court should give other courts, with older cases, time to decide if any of the cases should be granted class action national status. If that were to happen, Makinen and all other Floridians who were unhappy with the product could be included under the federal lawsuit, he wrote.

Makinen's attorney, Christa Collins, was unavailable for comment Thursday. A hearing on the matter is set before Swanson on June 13.

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