Suspended pitcher J.C. Romero files suit against supplement manufacturer
Posted on the FIU SELS Blog:
Suspended Phillies reliever J.C. Romero has filed suit against a nutritional supplement manufacturer alleging an unlisted ingredient in one of its products caused him to test positive for a substance banned by Major League Baseball.
In the suit filed Monday in Superior Court in Camden County, N.J., Romero accused Ergopharm and Proviant Technologies as being negligent in manufacturing 6-OXO and 6-OXO Extreme, the nutritional supplements he took, and for misrepresenting their ingredients.
Also named in the suit are Vitamin Shoppe and General Nutrition Centers, stores where Romero said he purchased the over-the-counter supplements in July. He said employees at both stores recommended the supplements and assured him that using them would not lead to a failed drug test.
Romero, who earned two wins in Philadelphia’s World Series victory over Tampa Bay last year, was suspended by Major League Baseball for the first 50 games of this season. He is eligible to return on June 2, barring any Phillies games being postponed.
“Testing positive and being suspended from baseball was one of the most painful experiences in my life and … damaged my reputation in the process,” Romero said in a statement released by his attorneys. “It is my hope that I can finally start to put this event behind me and protect the interests of others who rely on manufacturers and retailers to be honest about their products.”
In suspending Romero, MLB ruled that players are responsible for ensuring whatever supplements they take contain no banned substances. Posters in each major league clubhouse offer players a hotline to call to check on supplements.
Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor relations in the commissioner’s office, has previously said Romero that did not use the hotline.
Romero appealed the suspension, but it was upheld by an independent arbitrator.
In his suit, Romero is seeking compensatory damages, including being repaid the $1.246 million of his $4 million salary he lost as a result of the suspension. Romero is also seeking undisclosed punitive damages because he said his reputation has been tarnished as a result of the positive test.
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