Fred's Amoco removed from lawsuit

By Thomas Wilson

   An Elizabethton service station has been removed as a defendant in a lawsuit filed against the manufacturer of a popular dietary supplement.
   An amended complaint filed by Kingsport attorney Richard A. Spivey removes Fred Zeidan and Fred's Amoco Automotive Center at 332 West Elk Avenue and instead names another service station as the defendant.
   Filed in Carter County Circuit Court on April 14, the original lawsuit alleged plaintiff Jessica L. Whaley of Elizabethton suffered a seizure after taking Stacker 2 -- a dietary supplement containing Ephedra. The original lawsuit named the product's manufacturer, NVE Pharmaceuticals, and Amoco Oil Company as defendants in the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged that Whaley purchased the Stacker 2 product at Fred's Amoco in April 2002.
   The amended filing alleges that Whaley instead purchased the product at Appco Convenience Center #32 in Elizabethton. Spivey did not immediately return telephone calls from the Star seeking comment.
   Whaley used the product in accordance with the instructions to take no more than three capsules per day, the complaint reads. On April 20, 2002, the lawsuit reads that Whaley experienced "serious and injurious side effects, including but not limited to, a seizure requiring her to seek emergency medical treatment as a direct result of having taken Stacker 2 on the previous day."
   Ephedra is a naturally occurring substance derived from the Chinese herbal "Ma Huang." Its principal active ingredient is ephedrine -- which when chemically synthesized is regulated as a drug, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
   The Stacker 2 product's labeling instructs users to consult a physician or licensed qualified health care professional before using this product if they have, or have a family history of various physical ailments such as heart disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, recurrent headaches, depression or other psychiatric condition, or glaucoma.