Have you received a letter from Tauler Smith or from Levine Law Center demanding that you pay $10,000, or $2,500 for selling “male enhancement” pills or supplements that allegedly contain deceptive advertising and that YOU are somehow liable to Outlaw Laboratories?
Outlaw Laboratory, LP, a Texas Company, has sent what is understood to be 100s of letters to retailers in Portland, Oregon, and in other states, demanding that the retailer pay upwards of $10,000 to settle claims of unfair competition under the Lanham Act, a federal law prohibiting trademark infringement, deceptive advertising, and unfair competition.
The law firm, Tauler Smith, out of Los Angeles, makes the claim that the retailers are liable for stocking boner pills that it says the FDA has determined may contain the active ingredient in Viagra, and, therefore, are not truly “natural.” This somehow harms its client, Outlaw Pharmaceuticals. And, rather than trying to track down the Chinese manufacturer, Tauler Smith is attempting to shake down the retailers for $1000s, who are also victims of what are alleged to be the manufacturer’s misleading labels.
Now, Tauler Smith has hired a local attorney in Portland, Andrew Levine, who obtained his bar license in October, 2018, to pressure Portland area businesses to pay thousands or to be sued.
Two federal courts in Texas have thrown Outlaw Laboratory’s lawsuits brought against retailers who refused to pay after receiving demand letters. Judge Jane J. Boyle stated: “It looks likes a shakedown to me, it really does.”
One court noted that there are no federal cases where retailers have been held liable for the alleged false advertising on the packaging that they stock in their stores, and that allowing such a lawsuit to proceed would mean that every retailer is the guarantor for the manufacturer and/or distributor of every product on its shelf.
The Texas District Court found that Outlaw failed to allege that the retailers made false statements in the context of commercial advertising or promotion by merely putting the products on their shelves.
One lawyer arguing the case in Texas noted that anyone selling Coke Zero would be subject to a lawsuit if a maker of sugar free soft drinks found a trace of sugar in a can of Coke Zero.