A Collin County jury ruled Thursday against a North Texas Olympian who filed a lawsuit against HEB and a pharmaceutical company over a supplement she says caused her to fail a drug test and derailed his athletic career.
After deliberating for approximately 90 minutes, the jury determined that HEB and Nexgen Pharma did not engage in any false, misleading or misleading practices regarding the sale of the tablets Jaqueline Galloway purchased at a central Plano market in February 2019.
Galloway, who won bronze in taekwondo for the United States at the 2016 Olympics, said she read the label on the bottle carefully before buying the calcium, magnesium and zinc supplements, comparing the ingredients to a list of drugs banned by the US Anti-Doping Agency. None of the banned substances appeared on the bottle.
She had been taking the vitamins for just over a week when she had a random drug test. Galloway failed a drug screen after testing positive for the USADA-banned growth hormone ibutamoren. She was immediately suspended from competition.
She sent in all the supplements she had taken, including 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 his lawyers claimed that HEB, which owns Central Market, and Nexgen, which manufactures the supplement, were misleading in the way they marketed and manufactured the tablets. A sentence on the bottle stated that the supplements had been tested for purity, and nothing on the bottle stated that Nexgen was the manufacturer.
But attorneys for both companies say industry standards were followed when producing, distributing and marketing the supplements. They suggested that the tablets must have been contaminated after the bottle was opened.
After the jury returned its verdict, Galloway said she was disappointed with the outcome, but respected the legal process.
“That’s why I chose this path,” Galloway said. “I’ve always competed at a certain level, so it’s disappointing when no one is held accountable for that.”
Harold Lotz, a lawyer for HEB, said he wished Jackie “the best of luck”.
Galloway had sought over $1 million in damages.
During closing arguments on Thursday, lawyers for both sides implored the 12 jurors to use common sense.
Why would Galloway, who was ranked among the top female taekwando practitioners in the world, risk it all while taking performance-enhancing drugs, her attorney, David Townend, asked the jury. Why would she take the substance knowing that she would be randomly tested and that a positive test could end her entire career?
“Essentially her Olympic career, which she had been dealing with since she was 7, was over,” Townend said. “That’s what these supplements did.”
Galloway had always been picky about what she put into her body, Townend said. If she had known Nexgen made the supplements, she would have researched the company more before buying the bottle — and possibly avoided the supplements altogether.
But the Galloway team was never able to conclusively prove that incidents in Nexgen’s manufacturing process led to the contamination.
Lawyers for both companies said they did not believe Galloway intentionally took the banned substance, but insisted it must have been added to the bottle after it was opened. Galloway’s then-fiancé competed in mixed martial arts and used protein powders, and lawyers have suggested there may have been accidental cross-contamination.
The central market supplements have been subjected to a series of tests. Tests for other bottles came back negative for ibutamoren – including pills from the same batch as Galloway.
“One and only one bottle of calcium, magnesium and zinc tested positive for ibutamoren,” said Russell Schell, attorney for Nexgen. “Unfortunately, it’s the open bottle Mrs. Galloway brought home.”