LAS VEGAS – Lawsuits are mounting against a Las Vegas-based bottled water brand, Real Water, amid a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation and accusations by more people in more states that it caused liver diseases and other ailments.
A Nevada man’s case blamed the product for his liver transplant in September 2019, a federal class action lawsuit was filed in Nevada this week and another lawsuit filed in state court also sought class action status.
“The defendants … sold their product as ‘the healthiest drinking water today,'” said attorneys Gustavo Ponce and Mona Amini in the third case, representing Peter Anthony Arambula. “It actually has dangerous levels of toxins that make it unsafe and dangerous to human life.”
Brent Jones, president of bottling company AffinityLifestyles.com Inc., and a former Republican Nevada state legislator, did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment Wednesday.
Jones issued a statement on March 17 asking stores across the country to remove Real Water from the shelves “until the issue is resolved.”
Now, a nearly two-minute video message with Jones on the Real Water website offers “the deepest sympathy and concern for the events that led to the investigation.”
He said the “nationwide voluntary recall of all products” will remain in effect “until the safety of our product is clearly established.”
The legal actions follow an FDA warning last week not to drink, cook, sell or serve Real Water, which is widely marketed in the US.
Lee Gray, an attorney representing the company in the FDA investigation, said Wednesday that Real Water “issued a voluntary product recall and continues to work closely with the FDA to investigate and determine the root cause of any issues with their products”. He declined to comment on the lawsuits.
Will Kemp, a Las Vegas attorney, launched the legal blitz with a civil negligence and deceptive business practices case filed on March 16. He blamed water for liver disease in five hospitalized children.
The Southern Nevada Regional Health District reported investigating six other people’s illnesses since November 2020 who reported less severe symptoms, including vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and fatigue.
A new Kemp lawsuit, filed Monday on behalf of plaintiff Myles Hunwardsen and four others, blamed water for Hunwardsen’s liver failure in September 2019. It said he received a liver transplant at a Los Angeles hospital.
“Real Water is believed to be the cause of an extraordinary number of liver damage cases involving Nevadans,” the lawsuit says.
The separate class action negligence case filed Monday by attorney David Hilton Wise in United States District Court in Las Vegas seeks unspecified damages on behalf of three California women.
It alleges deceptive business practices and false advertising, and identifies the class of potential injured plaintiffs as anyone in the US who purchased Real Water “for personal, family or household use.”
Real Water is marketed as premium quality drinking water with healthy detoxifying properties. It comes in distinctive square blue bottles with labels calling it “alkalized” and “infused with negative ions.”
Kemp’s court filings say the water is drawn from the Las Vegas public tap water supply.
The company released copies of technical reports on water quality dated January 6 and certification lists in 42 states and the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.