Professional tennis star Guillermo Coria sues vitamin manufacturer for causing positive steroid test
BOSTON– LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire –Nystrom Beckman & Paris LLP, a leading boutique litigation firm based in Boston, today announced that the jury trial for the landmark steroid-use-in-sports case, Guillermo Coria vs. Universal Nutrition a/k/a Universal Protein Supplement Corp. and G.E.N. Tech, LLC, will commence on June 18, 2007 in the Superior Court of New Jersey. Plaintiff Guillermo Coria, the former No. 3 tennis player in the world from Argentina, maintains that Universal’s negligent manufacturing process infused traces of undisclosed steroids into the company’s Gaspari Nutrition multivitamin, causing Coria to fail a drug test during the height of his career. If the jury finds in favor of Coria, this will become the first case of a world-class professional athlete proving that a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs was caused by product contamination.
In February 2001, Coria began taking regular doses of multivitamins manufactured by Universal and distributed by Gaspari. In April of that year, a urine test conducted as part of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Anti-Doping program revealed trace amounts of nandrolone, a known steroid, in Coria’s system. The infinitesimal traces were inconsistent with steroid usage and not enough to have any performance-enhancing effects, but they were enough to generate a positive drug test result. At the time of the 2001 drug test, Coria was 19 years old, at the top of his game and pegged as the next tennis phenom. The positive test results led to a two-year suspension, removing Coria immediately from the national circuit and depriving him of key sponsorships from Prince and Adidas.
In this case, Coria has set out to prove to a jury in the Superior Court of New Jersey that Universal, through negligent manufacturing practices, had allowed residue from other products containing steroids to mix with the multivitamins, ultimately causing the positive drug test. In 2001, Coria’s suspension from professional tennis was reduced from two years to time served (seven months) after the athlete proved to the ATP that Universal’s manufacturing procedures had contaminated his multivitamins. By that point, Coria had already dropped from the top 30 to No. 200 in the ATP standings.
“Tennis, like most sports, is a game in which a player’s window of opportunity is small. Here, Coria was harmed at the absolute worst point in his career – as a rising star in his teenage years,” said Gavin Forbes, senior vice president of tennis for IMG Worldwide. “Despite his rise in rankings after the suspension to become the number 3 player in the world, Coria forever lost two of the most critical years of his professional career.”
“Guillermo is an honest and dedicated professional athlete who was denied the opportunity to pursue his passion as a result of circumstances beyond his control,” said William C. Nystrom, Esq., the lead attorney on the case. “Although the two years Guillermo lost as a result of the suspension can never be reclaimed, proving his innocence in this case will restore Coria’s reputation and ensure critical monetary compensation. Our goal is to clear Coria’s name once and for all and ensure that drug companies like Universal adopt better manufacturing procedures so that the reputations of other innocent athletes are not tainted as a result of corporate sloppiness.”
Since returning from his suspension, Coria has ranked as high as No. 3 in the world. His comeback exemplifies earnest hard work, and a court decision in his favor would help reclaim his reputation as one of the top players in men’s professional tennis.
About Nystrom Beckman & Paris LLP
Nystrom Beckman & Paris LLP is a boutique litigation firm in Boston, Mass., specializing in complex litigation and trial work. Founded in 2004 by three experienced attorneys from national law firms, NBP has steadily grown to become a “go-to” firm for major corporations, entrepreneurial companies and individuals. The NBP team of associates, paralegals and support staff is dedicated to handling matters of any size and complexity, achieving outstanding results and exceeding clients’ expectations.