'Alkaline Water' Health Drink Blamed At Trial For Causing Multiple Liver Failures, Watch Gavel-to-Gavel via CVN

Posted by David Siegel on Jun 3, 2024 12:59:30 PM

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CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Will Kemp delivering his opening statement

Las Vegas, NV - A Nevada state court jury heard opening statements Friday in the latest trial over allegations that an “alkaline water” health drink contained toxic chemicals that caused major liver damage to multiple people, and the full trial is being webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.

Eight plaintiffs, including five young children and their parents, allege they suffered acute liver failure after drinking “Real Water,” which touted the supposed health benefits of water with a high PH level. The drink was pulled from shelves in 2021 after Nevada authorities found it contained hydrazine, a toxic chemical used in jet fuel.

Affinity Lifestyles, the now defunct company that manufactured Real Water, conceded liability in those cases but maintained they shouldn’t be subject to punitive damages, because the supposed industry-standard testing they used wasn’t calibrated to detect hydrazine. However two previous Las Vegas juries rejected that defense and awarded similarly injured plaintiffs $228.5 million and $130 million - including punitive damages.


Plaintiff attorney Will Kemp told jurors during his opening statement that acute liver failure is a relatively rare medical condition, and that a sudden uptick in cases led Nevada health authorities to determine Real Water was the common cause. He explained acute liver failure often requires liver transplantation, a risky and intensive procedure that some plaintiffs in the case had to ultimately undergo.

Kemp rejected the claim Real Water underwent industry-standard testing, telling jurors they never subjected the drink to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, or GC-MS, even after receiving customer complaints of a “gasoline like substance” in the water. Instead the company only performed tests for potentially harmful bacteria.

Kemp told jurors they would hear expert testimony that the electrolysis process used to treat the water creates hydrazine, and that Real Water’s alleged ignoring that knowable risk combined with inadequate screening and testing procedures warrants an award of punitive damages in this case.

Representing Real Water, Joel Odou of Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP gave a comparatively brief opening statement and immediately conceded Real Water caused the plaintiffs' illnesses and would compensate them for 100 percent of their medical expenses regardless of the trial's outcome, which combined far exceed $1 million.

Odou openings

CVN screenshot of defense attorney Joel Odou delivering his opening statement 

However Odou urged jurors to base any award of compensatory damages on actual proof presented at trial, and suggested plaintiffs would fail in meeting their burden of proof to establish the “malice, fraud, oppression and conscious disregard” required to support punitive damages.

He detailed how Real Water retained the services of an “FDA consultant” to ensure their manufacturing process was safe, and while Odou agreed there should not have been “one drop of hydrazine” in Real Water he maintained that the steps the company did take to screen the product shows they were not indifferent to consumer safety.

CVN’s gavel-to-gavel coverage, including all expert witness testimony, will continue for the duration of the proceedings.

The trial is taking place before Judge Joe Hardy.

The case is captioned Wren, et al.  v., case number A-21-831169-B in Nevada’s Eighth Judicial District Court.

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Topics: Nevada