Monday, December 08, 2014

Claims of Mislabeling of Dietary Supplements Did Not Infringe Free Exercise Rights

In State of Texas v. Valerie Saxion, Inc., (TX App., Dec. 4, 2014), a Texas state appellate court rejected arguments by defendant and her company that the state was infringing their free exercise rights by proceeding against them with charges that their mislabeling and misbranding of dietary supplements violated the Texas Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Defendant argued that her statements were based on sincerely held religious beliefs.  The court concluded, however:
The twenty-four “practices in pursuit and conduct of trade or commerce” listed by the State in its live pleading do not seek to restrain Saxion from practicing any religious beliefs or expressing any religious opinions..... Rather, the relief sought by the State attempts to regulate the advertising and sale of certain dietary supplements as a proper restraint on commercial speech necessary to protect the public..... Therefore [defendant] ... failed to allege a viable ultra vires claim with regard to her free-exercise-of-religion rights and the attorney general’s discretion and authority to enforce the TFDCA and DTPA.