December 4, 2023
Jury rules against North Texas Olympian who said H-E-B supplement made her fail drug test

A Collin County jury on Thursday ruled against a North Texas Olympian who filed a lawsuit against H-E-B and a pharmaceutical company over a supplement she said made her fail a drug test and derailed her athletic career.

After deliberating for about 90 minutes, the jury determined H-E-B and Nexgen Pharma did not engage in any false, misleading or deceptive practices over the sale of the tablets that Jaqueline Galloway bought from a Plano Central Market in February 2019.

Galloway, who won the bronze medal in taekwondo for the United States at the 2016 Olympics, said she carefully read the label on the bottle before buying the calcium, magnesium and zinc supplements, comparing the ingredients to a list of drugs banned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. None of the banned substances appeared on the bottle.

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She had been taking the vitamins for just over a week when she was given a random drug test. Galloway failed the drug screen after testing positive for ibutamoren, a growth hormone banned by the USADA. She was immediately suspended from competing.

She sent every supplement she had been taking, including the Central Market supplements, fish oil and a women’s multivitamin, for testing. Only the Central Market supplements showed traces of the banned drug.

Galloway and her lawyers claimed both H-E-B, which owns Central Market, and Nexgen, which manufactures the supplement, were deceptive in how they marketed and made the tablets. A phrase on the bottle said the supplements had been tested for purity, and nothing on the bottle indicated that Nexgen was the manufacturer.

But lawyers for both companies say industry standards were followed during the production, distribution and marketing of the supplements. They suggested the tablets must have been contaminated after the bottle was open.

After the jury delivered its verdict, Galloway said she was disappointed with the result, but respected the judicial process.

“That’s why I chose this path,” Galloway said. “I’ve always competed to a certain standard, and so it’s disappointing when you don’t have anyone held responsible for this situation.”

Harold Lotz, a lawyer for H-E-B, said he wishes Jackie “the best of luck.”

Galloway had sought more than $1 million in damages.

Common sense

During closing arguments Thursday, lawyers from both sides implored the 12 jurors to use their common sense.

Why would Galloway, who was ranked as one of the top taekwando practitioners in the world, risk everything by taking performance-enhancing drugs, her lawyer, David Townend, asked the jury. Why would she take the substance knowing she would be subjected to random drug testing, and that one positive test could end her entire career?

“In essence, her Olympic career, which she had been nursing since age 7, was over,” Townend said. “That’s what these supplements did.”

Galloway had always been fastidious about what she put in her body, Townend said. Had she known that Nexgen manufactured the supplements, she would have done more research into the company before buying the bottle — and might have avoided the supplements altogether.

But Galloway’s team was never able to conclusively prove that mishaps in Nexgen’s manufacturing process led to the contamination.

Lawyers for both companies said they don’t believe Galloway intentionally took the banned substance, but insisted it had to have been added to the bottle after it was opened. Galloway’s then-fiancé competed in mixed-martial arts and used protein powders, and the lawyers suggested there may have been some accidental cross-contamination.

The Central Market supplements were put through a series of tests. Tests for other bottles came up negative for ibutamoren — including pills from the same lot as Galloway’s.

“One, and only one, bottle of calcium, magnesium and zinc ever tested positive for ibutamoren,” said Russell Schell, a lawyer for Nexgen. “Unfortunately it was the open bottle that Ms. Galloway took home.”