In May, class plaintiff Suhanna Jens filed a class action lawsuit in Washington against Tori Belle.
Recent rulings against Tori Belle, including a default judgment and an injunction, indicate that the case has not gone well.
The proposed class action by plaintiff Jens was filed on May 5 in the Superior Court of Washington, King County.
Jens’ lawsuit alleges The affiliate agreement between Tori Belle and her record label violates Washington’s anti-competition statute.
Approximately on November 27, 2021, the defendant demanded that the plaintiff sign a non-compete clause.
Additionally, the defendant compelled class members to sign non-competition agreements.
At all times relevant to this complaint, plaintiff and class members earned less than $250,000 per year from the defendant.
Due to the defendant’s actions and omissions, the plaintiff and the class have suffered damages that will be established at trial.
uncomplicated in nature.
The affiliate agreement that Tori Belle Compliance supplied to Jens as an exhibit to a declaration comprises the following clauses:
The undersigned affiliate acknowledges and accepts the following terms:
“I shall remain in good standing with the company for a period of one year.
I will not participate in any other MLM, direct sales, or affiliate relationship companies for a period of 12 months following the assignment of a DTC Affiliate (s)
I will not sell products for, recruit for, or be involved in any way with any other company that sells eyelashes or other cosmetics through social or direct selling (MLM) for a period of one year after leaving this organization. Tori Belle Cosmetics’ violation of this agreement will result in the forfeiture and reimbursement of all commissions and bonuses received from DTC Affiliates assigned to my team during the previous 12 months.
DTC is an acronym for “Direct to Corporate.” DTC Affiliates are Tori Belle affiliates who signed up without a sponsor, became inactive, or chose their upline from a “company approved list of affiliates.”
Jens desired to represent Tori Belle affiliates who make less than $250,000 per year and signed a non-compete clause effective after January 2020.
Jens’ employment at Tori Belle ended in March 2022. She is actively pushing Modere and expressing “growing concern” that Tori Belle will sue her.
In an effort to keep “under Hunter’s radar” and avoid being a target of a lawsuit, Jens has invested less in Modere products and marketing and has maintained a lower profile on social media due to this worry.
This has resulted in wasted business and marketing possibilities, which means that the plaintiff could make at least two to three times what she earns today if she were free to expand her moderate marketing firm without fear of litigation or interference from Hunter and his associates (Tori Belle).
The persistent anxiety and concern that Hunter and the Defendant might serve the Plaintiff with a lawsuit at any moment have manifested as bodily ailments.
Her doctor has prescribed antidepressants, which she now takes on a regular basis, expressly for the continued stress that this situation causes.
Jens cites Facebook posts by CEO Laura Hunter (right) in which she discusses lawsuits filed against former Tori Belle members who joined other MLM organizations.
On the same day that Jens filed his lawsuit, the court clerk tentatively scheduled the trial for May 8, 2023.
The court issued an Order of Default for Tori Belle’s failure to reply to Jens’ case.
Tori Belle filed a motion on July 19 demanding that the order be vacated. CEO Laura Hunter stated that the company
In this case, we did not obtain a copy of the summons.
Because Tori Belle did not get a copy of the summons, she was unaware that the deadline for responding had begun.
Tori Belle stated further that it had “strong defenses” against Jen’s claims.
The court refused Tori Belle’s motion on July 19 and upheld the Order of Default.
The judge ruled
Tori Belle’s failure to reply to the complaint was negligent.
The negligence of the defendant was unacceptable.
The defendant does not have a meritorious defense.
In addition, the court granted Jens $10,000 in legal fees.
Plaintiff Jens filed a motion on September 6 asking for an injunction against Tori Belle.
The order attempted to invalidate the non-compete clauses in Tori Belle’s affiliate agreements.
The affiliate may not sell products of other companies that sell false eyelash products, including but not limited to magnetic eyeliner, magnetic mascara, false lashes, or any product that the company (or any of its affiliate entities) considers to be its original invention, except where such restrictions are prohibited.
Affiliates discovered selling for other companies who sell these competitive products will be suspended or dismissed.
This was in addition to the 12-month non-compete mentioned previously.
Tori Belle was not opposed to the motion. Thus, on September 23, the court granted Jens’ preliminary injunction request.
The plaintiff’s legal and equitable rights to defend her genuine interests are unmistakable.
It is anticipated that the plaintiff will prevail on her allegations alleging a violation of RCW 49.62.030.
Plaintiff has a reasonable and well-founded concern that the defendant intends to violate her rights by attempting to enforce the above unconstitutional non-compete clauses.
Plaintiff has proven that if the defendant is allowed to interfere with her rights, she will continue to suffer actual and significant harm to her interests.
The court converted the prior legal fees judgment to a $10,000 total judgment on September 23.
As this is a lawsuit filed at the state level, I do not have access to the case docket. Unless I’m missing something, it appears that the class-action lawsuit has been dismissed, but Jens won the case.
In Washington, Tori Belle cannot enforce the non-compete restrictions of its affiliate agreements. And Jens received $10,000.
I can’t say I agree with Jens’ extremely specific statement, “I would be making two to three times more if it weren’t for Tori Belle,” but I believe non-compete agreements should be made unlawful in general.
The only exception to this rule is if secret knowledge is used at another organization, which normally only occurs when executives depart.
Tori Belle is now undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, which were initiated by LashLiner in August.
Additionally, two class actions have been launched against Tori Belle in relation to recurring monthly membership payments. In August 2022, both cases were filed in Washington (Plaintiffs Theresa Johnson and Steven McKnight and Plaintiff Leslie Shon Weathers).
Update, October 1st, 2022: Plaintiff Jens was not bound by Tori Belle’s non-competition agreements, hence the class action did not proceed as a class action, as informed by Tori Belle’s management.