Nutritional supplement maker Natrol Inc. has been awarded $3.3 million by a federal court jury in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in a case that stemmed from an FDA product recall of protein powder in 2011.
The Chatsworth company was awarded the damages last week after it sued Nature’s Products Inc., a Sunrise, Fla. company that supplied key ingredients to the ProLab powder that was marketed as free of gluten and wheat.
The Food and Drug Administration ordered a recall of 12 varieties of the powder after it was found to contain wheat, which can cause allergic reactions. The products were sold from June 2010 through September 2011. Natrol said the recall was the first in its more than 30 years in business.
“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,” said Joseph A. Sacher, Natrol’s trial counsel and a partner at Sacher, Zelman, Hartman, Paul, Beiley & Sacher PA, a Miami law firm.
The litigation began after the two sides could not work out an agreement and Nature’s Products sued Natrol for roughly $750,000 in unpaid invoices, prompting a countersuit by Natrol. The Chatsworth company was ordered to pay the invoices in the federal court decision, which was handed down Oct. 25, while Nature’s Products must pay Natrol $3.3 million for breach of contract.
Nature’s Products could not be reached for comment on Monday.