(CN) – An investor in deer antler spray asked a federal judge to void a $5.4 million default judgment in favor of a former NFL player who said he was suspended four games for using the spray.
William Voss, an original investor in Sports With Alternatives to Steroids, or SWATS, sued former National Football League linebacker David Vobora in St. Louis federal court on Monday, claiming the $5.4 million award “is contrary to scientific reality.”
Vobora was selected by the St. Louis Rams with the final pick of the 2008 NFL Draft, earning the title of “Mr. Irrelevant,” and was released from the Rams in 2011. The next year, Vobora founded Performance Vault Inc., a Dallas-based elite athlete training center.
In a 2010 lawsuit Vobora filed against SWATS, the former linebacker claims he was recommended the company’s “Ultimate Sports Spray” and used the product with the understanding that it did not contain any substances banned by the NFL.
Voss says the SWATS product is deer antler spray, which has reportedly been used by professional athletes for injury recovery and performance enhancement.
On June 11, 2009, Vobora says he provided the NFL a urine sample and tested positive for a metabolite of methyltestosterone, a banned steroid substance, and was suspended for four games during the 2009 football season.
Methylestosterone is a manufactured, synthetic compound that was one of the first oral steroids produced beginning in the 1930s. Athletes and body builders reportedly use it to increases the length and intensity of weight training and performance because of the quick-acting, immediate aggression effects.
According to court records, Vobora’s representative sent the bottle of SWATS’ Ultimate Sports Spray to a lab for testing and it allegedly tested positive for methyltestosterone contamination.
Vobora eventually obtained a $5.4 million default judgment against SWATS after a hearing in which Vobora and his agent testified, according to Voss’ Dec. 5 complaint.
But Voss questions Vobora’s “curiously vague allegation” about using the spray.
“Because SWATS was a new venture at the time of the original action, and neither the company nor its owners had the means to defend Vobora’s claims, Vobora was never called to task regarding how he obtained the SWATS spray, how he used it and how he and his agent ‘preserved’ it for testing,” his complaint states.
Voss says Vobora did not buy the deer antler spray from SWATS or any of its owners, but was instead recommended the product by another football player, who never tested positive for methyltestosterone.
Monday’s lawsuit claims that methyltestosterone is not licensed to SWATS or any other manufacturer of deer antler velvet, and it can only be obtained by prescription.
In April 2013, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed deer antler velvet from its list of banned substances, according to the complaint.
Applied Consumer Services Inc., which is licensed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, received a sealed bottle of SWATS spray from Voss earlier this year, and concluded in a Sept. 16 report that the spray did not contain methyltestosterone, the complaint states.
Voss says he cannot afford to pay counsel in Vobora’s third lawsuit against SWATS, which was filed in Alabama in 2013 and accuses Voss of fraudulently transferring SWATS’ trademark to a third party.
Voss says he is proceeding in pro se in the Alabama action and, if Vobora is successful in enforcing a judgment against him, the financial ramifications would be catastrophic for Voss and his family.
He claims Vobora “perpetrated an extraordinary fraud” on the NFL and “the American public.”
Voss, who is represented by Paul Puricelli with Stone, Leyton & Gershman in St. Louis, seeks a ruling that the $5.4 million default judgment against him is void.
“Vobora’s judgment should not, in equity and good conscience, by enforced because it is contrary to scientific reality and appears borne of a fraudulent conspiracy to cover up Vobora’s intentional use of banned steroid substance,” the lawsuit states.
California attorney Howard Jacobs, who represented Vobora in his 2010 lawsuit, said, “Voss’ claims are utterly baseless. I’m surprised that he could find an attorney to file it.”
Jacobs said he does not know if Vobora has been served with Voss’ complaint.