I am very pleased that the Arbitrator, after hearing testimony from 22 witnesses, agreed with our position that Lemongrass was within its rights to terminate Ms. Bono’s consultant agreement.
Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) June 29, 2016
Scheef & Stone LLP is pleased to announce a defense victory in a $21.9 million arbitration brought against Florida-based Lemongrass Spa Products LLC. Lemongrass is a direct sales company that markets all-natural spa and skincare products through nearly 5,000 independent sales consultants throughout the U.S. Janet (Kelli) Bono, a former Lemongrass independent consultant, brought claims against Lemongrass and the company’s owners, Heidi and Bryan Leist, after Lemongrass terminated Ms. Bono’s independent consultant agreement in March 2015. In an AAA arbitration case styled Janet K. Bono vs. Lemongrass Spa Products, LLC, Bryan Leist and Heidi Leist (case #01-15-0003-5801), Ms. Bono filed claims seeking $21.9 million in lost earnings plus exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. Among other things, Ms. Bono alleged that Lemongrass breached its agreement with Ms. Bono when it terminated her consultant agreement and that Bryan and Heidi Leist defamed Ms. Bono by publishing statements about the reasons for the termination of Ms. Bono’s consultant agreement.
Ms. Bono’s claims were presented to an Arbitrator over a two-week period in May in Denver, Colorado. Lemongrass Spa was represented by Scheef & Stone Partner C. Brenton Kugler, a business litigator who focuses on the representation of direct sales companies and businesses in complex lawsuits and arbitrations throughout the United States. The arbitration hearing concluded on May 24, 2016. The Final Arbitration Award was issued on June 22, 2016. In the Final Award, the Arbitrator rejected Ms. Bono’s claim for $21.9 million in lost earnings, finding instead that the termination of Ms. Bono’s consultant agreement did not constitute a breach of that agreement by Lemongrass. The Arbitrator further found in favor of Lemongrass and the Leists on various other claims asserted by Ms. Bono, including Ms. Bono’s defamation claims. The arbitration award limits Ms. Bono’s recovery to $20,000 and provides that Ms. Bono is responsible for her own legal fees.
“With the claimant seeking $21.9 million in damages, the stakes could not have been any higher for our client,” Kugler said. “From the outset, however, we firmly believed that the facts and evidence supported Lemongrass Spa’s decision to terminate its agreement with Ms. Bono. I am very pleased that the Arbitrator, after hearing testimony from 22 witnesses, agreed with our position that Lemongrass was within its rights to terminate Ms. Bono’s consultant agreement. Just as importantly, this Award vindicates the actions of Bryan and Heidi Leist and their exceptional stewardship of Lemongrass Spa Products. “
“[Brent] Kugler’s familiarity with the nuances of the direct-selling industry, and ability to describe the process, manage expectations and calm demeanor helped to assuage our concerns along the way and helped to make a very difficult process bearable,” said Bryan Leist, President of Lemongrass Spa Products. “While no one ‘wins’ in a dispute like this, we feel like the truth was heard and we are ecstatic about the outcome of the case,” remarked Heidi Leist, CEO of Lemongrass Spa Products.
Scheef & Stone, LLP provides solid counsel to its valued clients by forging innovative legal solutions to build lasting relationships. From its offices in Dallas and Frisco, members of the law firm hold themselves to the highest standards, and embrace the art of going above and beyond the extra mile for their clients. These values have led to strategic growth, bringing our attorney count to approximately 60 lawyers practicing in a full-service transactional and litigation firm with services including immigration, corporate, cybersecurity, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, tax, construction law, banking, intellectual property, healthcare, litigation and employment law.