Update on December 14, 2016: This case has been terminated, as both parties have filed a stipulation of dismissal. This means the case was likely settled out of court.
MusclePharm’s troubles are so deep, we can’t even keep up with all of their ongoing legal problems.
This is the first of two lawsuits filed against the supplement giant in May of 2016, but it’s got quite the twist: founder and former CEO Brad Pyatt has been named in this one.
On March 9th, 2016, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals filed a lawsuit against Brad Pyatt and MusclePharm for unfair trade practices under the Lanham Act, due to alleged amino acid spiking in MusclePharm’s Arnold Schwarzenegger Series Iron Mass Product.
MusclePharm was already sued over Iron Mass back in January of 2015, with allegations of misleading and deceptive practices towards the consumers. In that lawsuit, lab tests showed that only 19.4039g of bound amino acids from protein could be found, although the label stated multiple times that there is 40g inside.
This lawsuit is a bit different in that it comes from a competitor – Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals – who are suing due to unfair competition. Hi-Tech argues that when a competitor spikes their protein powders, a non-spiked protein such as NitroPro is on an extremely unfair playing field.
Brad Pyatt named as Defendant?!
What’s even more wild about this case is that Hi-Tech Pharma’s legal team has personally named Brad Pyatt in the suit — Pyatt is MusclePharm’s founder and former CEO.
They go so far as to display Pyatt’s home address in the suit, and a simple search shows how much was paid for the home ($939,000), as well as some photos of the home – many of which have been removed from the Internet since the suit was filed.
While naming the CEO is not completely unusual in a lawsuit, it definitely hasn’t been the norm in the other amino acid spiking lawsuits. So we contacted Hi-Tech Pharma for some answers:
Hi-Tech Pharma Speaks Up
Jared Wheat, President of Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, agreed to go on record regarding the case:
“MusclePharm artificially inflates the level of protein in its Arnold Schwarzenegger Series Iron Mass product and then lies to consumers about it, which I think is shameful, as Arnold put Bodybuilding on the map”,
said Wheat. He continued:
“We also believe that MusclePharm and its former owner Brad Pyatt were engaged in a scheme to defraud consumers as to the Iron Mass product’s content, quality, characteristics, and/or ingredients, and caused and enabled consumers to purchase MusclePharm’s Iron Mass product instead of Hi-Tech’s NitroPro® product”
Will Hi-Tech Pharma come after other spikers?
Now that the Lanham Act floodgates have opened (thanks to the Pom vs. Coke case, which we predicted at the end of 2014), and competitors can sue each other for such deceptive practices, the big question is whether Hi-Tech Pharma is going to use their muscle to sue all companies (and their respective CEOs) involved in amino acid spiking.
That question cannot be answered at this time, but in our opinion, we don’t think that will necessarily happen unless there is extremely serious reason and wrongdoing.
This suit just feels a bit more personal. This just seems to be a side effect of what happens when you drag the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger name through the mud like the Pyatt-led MusclePharm did.
Arnold already dumped MusclePharm
In case you didn’t see the news, it’s worth knowing that MusclePharm’s contract was terminated by Arnold Schwarzenegger, due to the shenanigans listed above, and likely others… such as when the SEC investigated and fined MusclePharm for numerous violations, including the time when Brad Pyatt approved the use of corporate funds to pay for childbirth costs.
Better behave out there…
Regardless of where you stand with MusclePharm, this suit proves that we’ve now fully entered a brave new litigious world where companies can sue one another for unfair and deceptive label practices.
If you make enough enemies and disrespect the wrong people, it will catch up with you, just like it seems to have done with MusclePharm’s former leadership.