The Guardian’s top health reporter published an exclusive, three-part package on a raid by British Food Standard’s Agency on the European operation of a Sacramento-based supplement company facing a lawsuit from Tauler Smith for selling the chemical DNP (2,4-dinitrophenol) for human consumption.
Excerpt: “The substance heats up the body’s metabolism, burning fat, but it can cause drastic overheating. Its victims’ organs literally cook inside the body. Once taken, there is no antidote…”
“DNP is basically pesticide coming out of a smoke stack and these folks are ingesting it and losing weight because their body is trying to get rid of it. It is ingested poison,” Robert Tauler told The Guardian.
The stories appeared in both the U.S. and U.K. versions of theguardian.com, as well as in print.
A series of raids in northern England has uncovered an operation suspected of selling a deadly fat-burning chemical used by bodybuilders that has killed eight young people in Britain in the last two years.
Around 11 kilos of the chemical 2,4-dinitrophenol, known as DNP, was found last month at premises in Wigton, Cumbria, alongside other legal supplements and equipment that could be used for making tablets.
Continue reading the story on The Guardian.
A false advertising lawsuit filed against an international sports supplement company based in Sacramento eventually caught international media attention, and the Sacramento Business Journal is covering all the major developments.
“This case is emblematic of the profound dysfunction in the nutritional supplement marketplace,” Robert Tauler told the Business Journal. “Low barriers to entry, high rewards and intermittent regulatory enforcement create perverse incentives for manufacturers and retailers.”
The Sacramento Business Journal has written several stories about the litigation and other interesting developments in this case.
Read the stories here (subscription may be required):
- Sacramento supplement company’s false advertising claims pose danger to consumer health and safety
- Supplements company facing lawsuit suggests patrons could harass opposing counsel
- CEO of Enhanced Athlete arrested for alleged probation violations
- Bodybuilding supplement company says its facility was raided by FDA
- ‘Dr. Huge’ allegedly connected to supplement facilities raided in Europe
Former Sacramento-based bankruptcy lawyer Anthony “Dr. Tony Huge” Hughes and convicted fraudster Scott E. Cavell joined forces this year to form Enhanced Athlete Inc., which sells controversial bodybuilding supplements.
Continue reading the story on Sacramento Business Journal (subscription may be required).
Law360, New York (January 4, 2017, 11:29 AM EST) — Few parents would knowingly let their teenager buy a month’s cycle of anabolic steroids. But what if they’re just buying a container of “BroPower” — a fictional name for a real product which bills itself as “intended for use by hardcore athletes who are trying to gain extreme size and strength?”
Anyone with $89.99, plus shipping, gets a one-month supply to boost muscle mass, libido and “aggression in the gym.” The active ingredients include methylsten, listed as “a powerful strength builder, which does not aromatize into…
Continue reading the story on Law360 (subscription may be required).
Robert Tauler, managing partner of law firm Tauler Smith LLP, has been named Westside Bar Association’s “Attorney of the Year” for 2016. The Westside Bar Association serves the greater Los Angeles area by connecting young attorneys through continuing education courses and mixers, according to its website.
“I am honored to receive this recognition from my peers, and hope to drive our firm and clientele to future success,” said Tauler, a Los Angeles trial attorney specializing in civil trials. The award comes on the heels of a $10 million dollar jury verdict obtained on behalf of a client against a nutritional supplement manufacturer.
The Westside Bar Association Attorney of Year Award is given to attorneys that have have achieved exceptional results for their clients early in their careers. The award reception will be held at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills on August 24, 2016. You may RSVP at info(at)westsidebarassociation(dot)com
The U.S. District Court will allow claims against supplement maker Custom Nutraceuticals LLC (“Custom”), JRM Nutrasciences and Jason Mancuso dba DNA Pharma proceed after denying defendants’ Motion to Dismiss in a ruling published on July 8. Custom was sued by competitor Nutrition Distribution in federal court on January 26, 2016 (Case 2:16-cv-00173-DGC). According to the First Amended Complaint, Defendants marketed the SARM “Ostarine” as “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION” while simultaneously advertising and selling its product as a new miracle body building drug.”
Plaintiff Nutrition distribution alleged in Court papers that Defendants’ ability to market the bodybuilding drug Ostarine without disclosing its harmful side effects or disclosing that international anti-doping groups have banned the product had a harmful effect on the marketplace and potentially to individual consumers. Plaintiff, who sells its own line of bodybuilding supplements, further alleged “users of [Ostarine] have little incentive to use a natural product.”
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss claiming that the lawsuit should be dismissed or stayed due to the “primary jurisdiction doctrine” which provides that certain matters involving nutritional supplement regulations be under the exclusive purview of the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).
The Court rejected Defendants’ theory, holding that “the Court need not consult the FDA to determine whether it is false and misleading to label a product as ‘not for human consumption’ while touting the benefits of such consumption…. Nor does the Court require the FDA’s expertise to determine whether it is false and misleading to market a product to competitive athletes while neglecting to mention that it has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.” (Opinion at 3:13-16,23-26). The Court continued its analysis by observing “Plaintiff’s theories do not require the Court to determine whether Ostarine is a drug or whether Defendants’ sale of Ostarine violated the FDCA [“Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act”]. Even if Defendants are lawfully marketing Ostarine as a nutritional supplement, their statements about the product may still be false and misleading.” (Opinion, 4:25-5:3).
LOS ANGELES, CA – 12/18/2015 (PRESS RELEASE JET) — Commercial litigation firm Tauler Smith LLP obtained a $10.2 million jury verdict on behalf of plaintiff Ahmad Alkayali against Neocell Corporation, a nutritional supplement company, and its officers and directors (“Defendants”). The dispute centered on the one-time manufacturer for Neocell Corporation, a company called Healthwise Nutraceuticals, Inc. Defendants conspired to dissolve Healthwise and transfer its assets to NeoCell without informing or compensating Mr. Alkayali, despite his 72 percent interest in the company.
Mr. Alkayali was awarded $9.5 million in economic and non-economic damages in connection with claims of conversion and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as punitive damages amounting to $685,000.
“We are very happy that the jury awarded Mr. Alkayali the value of his interest in Healthwise, as well as emotional distress and punitive damages,” said lead attorney Robert Tauler, founding partner of Tauler Smith. “It was a very hard-fought and emotional month-long trial and the verdict is vindication for our efforts.”
The verdict underscores a slew of recent litigation involving nutritional supplements. Tauler Smith has pursued several bodybuilding supplement companies for false advertising and unfair competition related to ingredients in their products.
Healthwise and Neocell were sister companies in adjoining rental space. Healthwise manufactured the supplements, while Neocell marketed and sold the supplements. Litigation concerning the ownership of NeoCell began in October 2008, during which Mr. Alkayali’s ownership right to NeoCell was extinguished and an injunction was issued barring him from entering the NeoCell premises, which was next door to the Healthwise facility. Although Mr. Alkayali was unable to manage the day-to-day affairs of Healthwise, he maintained his equity stake in the business. In August 2010, the defendants held a meeting where they dissolved Healthwise and transferred its assets to NeoCell, knowing that Mr. Alkayali would be unable to attend.