Contacted by the Daily News, the lead attorney representing J.C. Romero in his lawsuit against the manufacturer and distributors of 6-OXO Extreme said the Phillies lefthander felt he had been "duped" by the various parties.
"He was led to believe the supplement he was taking was not a banned substance, and that's really the basis of the complaint," South Jersey-based Jeffrey Craig said.
"Major League Baseball is not a party here. He was duped by the drug manufacturer who mislabeled the product and the retail store that sold the product."
Romero has steadfastly insisted that the positive drug test that has sidelined him for 50 games was the result of a tainted supplement. Today, he has taken his battle to the courtroom, filing a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey against Ergopharm Inc. and Proviant Technologies, which manufactured the supplement 6-OXO, and the companies that own and operate the Vitamin Shoppe and GNC.
GNC spokeswoman Laura Brophy said the company doesn't comment on pending lawsuits. Messages for representatives of the other defendants have not been returned.
Romero tested positive on Aug. 26, 2008, for androstenedione, a banned substance under Major League Baseball's steroid testing program.
The lawsuit, filed today, does not seek specific monetary damages. Romero's 50-game suspension will cost him roughly $1.4 million in salary.
The lawsuit claims the following damages have been incurred, the amounts of which will be proven at trial:
1) The loss of past income and earning capacity
2) The loss of income and earning capacity which Romero can reasonanbly be expected to have enjoyed in the future.
3) Past and future pain, suffering and humliation.
4) Loss of enjoyments of life, past and future.
Romero is alleging negligence, breach of implied warranties, strict product liability, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, violation of the New Jersey consumer fraud act, punitive damages against all defendants
"Testing positive and being suspended from baseball was one of the most painful experiences in nmy life and robbed me of the joy of winning the World Series and damaged my reputation in the process," Romero said in a statement. "I purchased an over-the-counter supplement that I was told and believed would not cause me to test positive. These events have hurt me deeply and placed a cloud over my career, accomplishments and family. 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. I look forward to rejoining the Phillies and my teammates at the end of my suspension."
Messages left with the defendants have not been returned at this point. More information as we get it.