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5-Hour Energy ordered to pay $4.3M over deceptive ads

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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: The drink 5-Hour Energy is viewed for sale at a grocery store on November 15, 2012 in New York City. The federal government and the New York Attorney General's office have announced that they are investigating the popular energy drink after the Food and Drug Administration received claims that 5-Hour Energy has over the past four years led to 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A judge in Washington state has ordered the makers of the 5-Hour Energy drink to pay nearly $4.3 million in penalties and legal fees over deceptive advertising.

Living Essentials LLC and Innovation Ventures LLC claimed the energy shots were superior to coffee and said doctors recommend them. They also said their decaffeinated formula provides energy, alertness and focus that would last hours.

A judge ruled Tuesday that the companies violated the state Consumer Protection Act and ordered them to pay nearly $2.2 million in civil penalties and $2.1 million in attorneys’ fees.

The companies’ communications director, Melissa Skabich, said they will appeal.

Skabich says unlike the two other courts that found in the company’s favor, the court in Washington’s King County didn’t follow the law.

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