Tauler op-ed: Proposed SARMs Control Act could be tougher

Rob Tauler‘s undisputedly one of the nation’s experts in the legal fight to protect consumers and the natural supplement industry against unproven chemicals promoted by unscrupulous manufacturers and retailers. Here’s his guest op-ed from the Deseret News saying the proposed SARMs Control Act of 2018, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is a great first step — but it needs more teeth.

Natural Products Insider Updates on Enhanced Athlete Case

Natural products insider writes about Tauler Smith’s recent court victory against Enhanced Athlete and their managing agent Charles Anthony Hughes, a California lawyer who refers to himself as “Dr. Tony Huge” to market patented drugs called SARMs to bodybuilders.

Read the full article on Natural Products Insider.

Seattle pet-sitting service Rover sued in death of emotional support dog

When Snoopy, an 18-month-old papillion, needed a dog-sitter in April 2017, his owner turned to Rover, a popular service that claimed to screen all its sitters and guaranteed insurance in case anything went wrong.

Yet when Snoopy was killed by a car while under the Rover sitter’s care, the company offered no compensation – not even the costs for cremation. His owner turned to Robert Tauler for help.

“They are representing that there is this vetting process but they are not doing really anything to ensure the safety of pets,” Tauler told Seattle’s KOMO News. “You can’t just say you’re insured and then back out of it…”

Dog App Rover Accused of Lying to Customers About Vetting Sitters and Providing Insurance

Suit also targets dogsitter Angelica Bridges of Baywatch fame

The complaint, filed today, can be viewed here.


LOS ANGELES, Calif., Feb. 26, 2018 – A new lawsuit claims that Rover, a dog-sitting app valued at over $300 million, falsely claims it has a rigorous vetting system for its sitters and falsely guarantees complimentary insurance to its customers. The lawsuit claims that in reality, Rover does nothing to vet its sitters and does not offer any meaningful insurance to its aggrieved customers. The complainant faced this harsh reality after her dog was negligently killed under a Rover sitter’s care.

The Rover sitter, named as a co-defendant, is actress, model and pop singer Angelica Bridges, 47, a star of the original Baywatch who graced the cover of the November 2001 Playboy.

“The contrast between what Rover says and what Rover does could not be more stark. Rover claims that all sitters are approved by specialists and that it accepts less than 20% of potential sitters, but this is not true,” said attorney Rob Tauler of Tauler Smith of Los Angeles, who filed the complaint on behalf of a dog owner whom the lawsuit claims was a victim of Rover’s false advertising regime. “In reality there is no system in place to vet sitters, and some sitters are “repeat offenders” who have already irresponsibly caused the death of pets in their care.”

According to the lawsuit, Rover did nothing to vet the sitter, Bridges, who misrepresented having a fenced yard. When the dog, who was not being supervised outside, was killed, Rover refused to provide compensation even though it claims in its marketing that Rover provides insurance “valid for injuries to the pet owner’s pet(s) in the sitter’s care, custody, or control,” according to court papers. The lawsuit also alleges that glitches in the Rover software delayed the ability of the owner to take protective action once the missing, now deceased dog, a 6-pound Papillion named Snoopy, was discovered.

A couple of weeks after the incident, Bridges was reapproved as a “trusted” five-star Rover sitter, while the victim was left without the ability to leave a negative review or rating.

The complaint, filed today, can be viewed here


Tauler Smith LLP specializes in high-stakes commercial litigation representing both plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of areas, including: false advertising, business disputes, and unfair competition. Founders Robert Tauler and Matthew J. Smith, both Harvard Law School grads, have broad expertise in complex litigation, including false advertising, unfair competition and Lanham Act litigation.

False advertising lawsuit wrongly dismissed; 9th U.S. Circuit panel rules in favor of Tauler Smith client

A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel handed client Nutrition Distribution LLC a major victory in its ongoing battle to prevent IronMag Labs LLC from its false advertising of its sports supplements containing Ostarine, a substance developed by pharma giant GTx to treat degenerative muscle diseases and cancers, announced Robert Tauler of Tauler Smith LLP in Los Angeles. The lawsuit alleges that IronMag Labs sells Ostarine without a prescription and markets Ostarine as a bodybuilding supplement, even though Ostarine is still in clinical trials. IronMag does not disclose to its customers that Ostarine has well known side effects.

Nutrition Distribution’s position was bolstered by an amicus curiae brief filed by GTx Inc., which said that Ostarine is being investigated as a new drug, is the subject of clinical trials, and, as such, cannot be sold in supplements.

Tauler Smith’s Lisa Zepeda made the successful appeal, arguing in part that “the FDA has made a clear statement that Defendants are selling their products illegally. Thus, even according to the district court’s own reasoning, Nutrition Distribution’s claims are not precluded.”

“We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit acknowledged GTx’s position that since Ostarine is the subject of publicly disclosed clinical trials, it cannot subsequently be marketed as a dietary supplement. It is important that the creators of drugs like Ostarine are able to protect their inventions and the integrity of the clinical trial process to ensure the safety of products,” Tauler said.

The decision was covered by the industry’s leading news source, Natural Products Insider.

  • This story spells out the issues involved in the lawsuit: https://tinyurl.com/FDAs-role
  • Coverage of the 9th Circuit judges’ decision to dismiss, with prejudice, a lower court’s ruling as “an abuse of discretion … due to a misapplication of the law.” https://tinyurl.com/primary-jurisdiction.
  • Watch the arguments made before the court here (Dec. 6, 2017).
  • Read the Jan. 24, 2018 ruling here.

Civil laws clean up the illicit sports supplement marketplace as FDA is overwhelmed, underfunded

Robert Tauler, in this guest column for Law360, spelled out how the illegal and illicit sports supplement business works, where the gaps are in criminally investigating and prosecuting companies that ignore federal rules to push poisons to an unsuspecting public.

“Until these dangerous substances are eliminated from the marketplace, laws that govern competition in the marketplace will remain the strongest weapon to protect consumers and hapless teenagers alike,” Tauler wrote. “The teenagers might be disappointed they are not seeing the “explosive gains” they want right away, but parents will happily exchange dangerous shortcuts to bigger muscles for the comfort that comes from knowing their child is staying drug­free.”

Read the column here (subscription may be required): https://tinyurl.com/Law360-Loopholes

Allergan PLC sues compounding pharmacies over false advertising

When Allergan PLC alleged false advertising in a lawsuit against large compounding pharmacies, Law360’s reporter turned to Robert Tauler for his insight and expertise on the Lanham Act. “I think this (litigation) may be groundbreaking,” he said. “If you are a large pharmaceutical company, it’ll have ripple effects if you start pursuing compounders.”

Read the story here (subscription may be required): http://bit.ly/2I7WX4g

‘Seminal’ Allergan Cases Test Copycat Drug Limits

Law360, New York (November 27, 2017, 11:08 PM EST) — Two recently filed lawsuits from Allergan PLC are teeing up a pivotal test of the extent to which drug compounders can mass-produce virtual copies of brand-name prescription drugs, attorneys say.
Continue reading the story on Law360.

The Guardian: U.K. sellers of deadly pesticide for weight loss unmasked in California lawsuit

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.

UK raids uncover suspected suppliers of deadly diet drug

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.