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Industry Attorney Robert Ullman Passes

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Bob Ullman December 26, 1933 – August 15, 2015

Industry attorney Robert Ullman, has died, leaving a legacy of significant contributions to shaping the dietary supplements industry as we know it today. Bob and his wife Joan died together in an accident on August 15, 2015, leaving behind their son Marc Ullman and daughter Gail Ullman Corbett, according to a press release by The Shelton Group.

Marc and Bob Ullman, after Bob was honored with the NPA President’s award in 2005 for his lifetime commitment to the industry.

Bob Ullman, who was born in Frankfurt Germany on December 26, 1933, graduated from New York University, B.S., magna cum laude, in 1955. He was a member of The Law Review at New York University School of Law, from which he graduated with honors in 1961. Upon graduation he joined the firm of Bass and Friend, which evolved into Bass and Ullman in 1969. Thirty years later when Bass and Ullman dissolved, Bob formed Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, LLP with his son Marc Ullman and colleague Steve Shapiro.

A seasoned litigator with 45 years experience practicing law in the dietary supplements industry, Bob was awarded the President’s Award from the National Nutritional Foods Association (now the Natural Products Association) in recognition of his contributions in 2005. 

“Bob Ullman was a true pioneer when it came to representing the industry,” said NPA Executive Director and CEO Dr. Daniel Fabricant. “His and Milt Bass’ work on so many landmark cases as NPA’s attorneys still reverberates through all we do defending the industry on the regulatory, judicial and legislative fronts. In addition to the wonderful work he did, those who knew Bob knew him as dedicated husband, father and friend. He will be sorely missed.”

Bob was not only recognized for his day-to-day work in defense of industry interests but for his involvement in pivotal vitamin hearings before Congress and related lawsuits against the FDA in the 1970’s. These cases included the Vitamins A and D case, where the FDA attempted to categorize high dose vitamins as drugs, as well as other precedent setting cases that have helped protect consumer access to dietary supplements.

In the mid 1990’s he handled the landmark FTC case defending calcium’s bone building properties on behalf of Metagenics. He was lead counsel in the Traco and Oakmont Black Currant oil cases which ended FDA’s attempt to regulate dietary supplements as food additives, and were cited by Senator Hatch as one of the justifications for his introduction of DSHEA. He also tried US Postal and FTC advertising cases involving dietary supplements and direct marketing.

“My father literally dedicated his life to defending this industry, and inspired us all by the passion he brought to defending his clients and the industry,” said son and partner Marc Ullman.

A funeral for the couple will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, August 19 at Gutterman’s in Woodbury, 8000 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY 11797. (516) 921-5757.

Contributions in honor of Bob and Joan Ullman can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at Alz.org.