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Protein Powder Recall Ends in $3M Jury Verdict

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CN) - Nature's Products owes $3.3 million after recalling protein powder products mislabled as gluten- and wheat-free, a federal jury ruled.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had announced in 2011 that Prolab Nutrition immediately initiated the recall after its manufacturer, Nature's Products, revealed that the raw material used to manufacture the protein items were not properly labeled.

Natrol, a California-based neutraceutical company that owned and marketed the ProLab protein powders, said it was "the first recall in Natrol's thirty-plus-year history."

Nature's Products initiated the federal lawsuit against Natrol in 2011.

Natrol revealed that it was ordered to pay Nature's Products $750,000 for unpaid invoices, but that this amount was set off by the $3.3 million that a jury awarded for its counterclaim.

"This is a matter that should have been amicably resolved two years ago, but NPI refused to accept its responsibility for manufacturing the defective, recalled products," Natrol's lead attorney, Joseph Sacher, said in a statement. "We are very happy with the jury's award of $3,272,705 to Natrol, and look forward to pursuing Natrol's entitlement to attorneys' fees under its operative contract."

Sacher is a named partner with Sacher, Zelman, Hartman, Paul, Beiley & Sacher in Miami. He was assisted in the eight-day jury trial by associate Michael Reese and paralegal Adam Ruff.

Mesrop Khoudagoulian, Natrol's in-house counsel, praised the jury verdict.

"NPI refused to honor its pre-manufacturing Indemnification Agreement with Natrol, and then sued Natrol for invoices, requiring Natrol's counterclaim for the full amount of the damages NPI caused Natrol to incur," Khoudagoulian said in a statement.


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