A state Supreme Court judge Wednesday ordered the owner of Tripp on the Wild Side II to temporarily stop selling allegedly mislabeled products the state attorney general claims are synthetic drugs.
Judge James P. McClusky signed an order to show cause with a preliminary injunction requiring Kenneth W. Hamm to come to court July 31 to argue why the sale of the disputed items should not be halted while a lawsuit brought Tuesday by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is pending. Mr. Hamm, owner of the business at 671 Mill St., said Tuesday he already has removed the products from his shelves.
The attorney general requested the show-cause order, contending in court documents that any continuing sale of the products could cause irreparable harm to numerous consumers.
Consumers of these drugs may experience dire health consequences, including death, the attorney wrote in a memorandum of law in support of the requested injunctive relief.
The attorney general also argued the continued sale represents a safety risk to the public, as well as to emergency responders and health care providers who deal with people who have consumed the products. One synthetic drug, bath salts, has caused consumers to exhibit paranoia and display violent tendencies, including extraordinary strength and immunity to pain. There are no allegations that Tripp on the Wild Side II is selling or has sold bath salts.
The store is alleged to have sold other products the attorney general claims are misbranded and misleadingly labeled nonprescription drugs, and canisters of nitrous oxide, which can be an intoxicant if the contents are inhaled. The lawsuit claims the products are misleading because they do not have labels displaying ingredients, intended use or manufacturer.
The attorney generals action ultimately seeks to end permanently the mislabeled products sale, although the injunctive relief is designed only to halt the sale temporarily. Mr. Schneiderman sued 16 businesses statewide in 12 counties Tuesday, and by Wednesday judges had issued 11 businesses temporary restraining orders forbidding the sale, finding the lawsuits had shown a likelihood of success and there was potential for harm if sales continued.
The quick action by these judges to immediately remove dangerous, mislabeled products from store shelves is an indication of the urgency of addressing this problem, Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement. This is a major victory for the health and safety of consumers in New York state.
The cases statewide are being prosecuted by Deanna R. Nelson, assistant attorney general in charge of the Watertown regional office, and Gary S. Brown, assistant attorney general in charge of the Westchester office, along with Judith C. Malkin, assistant attorney general in the Syracuse office, under the supervision of Martin J. Mack, executive attorney general for regional offices.