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Nats’ Catcher Sues MLB Alleging Flawed Steroid Tests (Corrected)

July 27, 2020, 7:05 PMUpdated: July 27, 2020, 11:13 PM

Major League Baseball was hit with a proposed class action Monday by Washington Nationals catcher Felipe “Tres” Barrera III who alleges he was suspended after falsely testing positive for the steroid Oral Turinabol.

Barrera asserts he was wrongfully suspended for 80 games after testing positive for the substance, also known as Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone or DHCMT.

The lawsuit seeks certification of a class of major and minor league baseball players who were suspended based on a positive test for DHCMT—a test the complaint alleges to be “junk science.”

The league violated the rights of each class member by wrongfully and knowingly misrepresenting the accuracy and reliability of the DHCMT test, “even though objective evidence proves those tests to be unreliable,” the complaint alleges.

The complaint seeks to set aside and vacate the July 24 arbitration ruling suspending Barrera, and it asks for an injunction prohibiting the league from carrying out the suspension.

The arbitrator “wholly ignored, and did not properly consider, the irrefutable evidence in the record,” that the test is clearly unreliable—even to a casual observer, the complaint alleges.

The complaint alleges that other non-prohibited substances can mimic the same metabolite created by DHCMT and that the league disregarded this.

Causes of Action: Fraud, negligence.

Relief: Injunctive relief, damages, attorneys fees, and costs.

Potential Class Size: The complaint doesn’t specify the number of proposed class members suspended for testing positive to DHCMT.

Response: MLB didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Attorneys: Kennard Law PC represents Barrera.

The case is Barrera v. Major League Baseball, S.D. Tex., No. 20-cv-00198, 7/27/20.

(Updated to correct law firm name)

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at PHayes@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com; Meghashyam Mali at mmali@bloombergindustry.com

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