IBJNews

Trump wins court battle with Menard over skin-care products deal

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A federal judge in Indianapolis ruled Tuesday that former model Melania Trump had a valid contract to market skin-care products for Indianapolis-based New Sunshine LLC, despite claims from hardware store magnate John Menard that the agreement should be voided.

U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled that Trump, the wife of billionaire Donald Trump, can proceed with an arbitration hearing in New York, where she is seeking $50 million in damages from New Sunshine and another Menard-controlled company, Merchant Capital LLC.

Trump has sued the two companies for failing to live up to their five-year agreement signed in 2012 that would let her company, Melania Marks Skincare LLC, develop and market a product line called Melania.

Menard had sued to cancel the contract, based on a dispute with Indianapolis businessman and former friend Stephen Hilbert.

"The license agreement is a valid and enforceable contract," Magnus-Stinson wrote in her decision. "Merchant Capital and New Sunshine have not sustained their burden of showing any circumstances justify declaring the license agreement void."

Hilbert was CEO of a private equity firm founded in 2005 that was funded by Menard. Its holdings included New Sunshine.

Menard’s lawsuit alleged that he sent a letter to Hilbert in June 2012 removing him as CEO, but that Hilbert refused to leave and continued to make unauthorized business decisions for New Sunshine. Big moves by New Sunshine during that period included the licensing deal with Trump.

In February, Menard won a court battle with Hilbert that allowed him to regain control of New Sunshine. Soon thereafter, New Sunshine sent a letter to Trump canceling a promotional deal for the launch of her skin-care products. Trump filed a lawsuit with an arbitrator, claiming New Sunshine’s actions had resulted in $50 million in damages.

Menard alleged that Hilbert did not have the authority to cut a deal with Trump. However, Magnus-Stinson found that New Sunshine's president at the time, Eric Weber, did have the authority to do so, and thus the contract was valid.

Weber received approval from New Sunshine's board to sign such agreements "on New Sunshine’s behalf and to bind New Sunshine to its terms," Magnus-Stinson wrote.

"The efforts to remove Mr. Hilbert from his positions at companies 'upstream' from New Sunshine have no effect on the license agreement’s validity. There was no fraud, corporate waste, or any other wrongdoing attributable to Melania Marks that would warrant undoing the deal that the parties’ reached," Magnus-Stinson concluded.


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Angela IS the best RD

  2. We are a nation of speed. All of our younger lives are filled with deadlines, quotas and bottom lines. We start to ease out of the pressured rat-race when we finally see "retirement." The most enjoyable travel on the planet is passenger rail service. Indy to Chicago does not beat Megabus or Southwest Airlines in speed. Passenger rail however has the best seating, mammoth legroon, seat backs that recline to more than 45 degrees and employers that really want you to return as a customer. Indiana municipalities need to maintain subsidies to support this transportation mode. Losing it is loss for all of us.

  3. Good day! I just want to testify how i got my loan from Mr. Eric Lefkofsky after i applied several times from various loan lenders who claimed to also testify right in this forum,i thought the testimonies where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan. Until a friend of mine introduce me to this popular Mr. Eric Lefkofsky who promised to help me and indeed he did as he promised without any form of delay. I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr. Eric lefkofsky who indeed helped me with the loan and changed my belief. I promised to share this testimony after I got my loan. I don't know if you are in any way in need of a genuine and urgent loan,free feel to contact Mr. Eric Lefkofsky via their email{grouponfunding@hotmail.com}

  4. Its a THUG issue. Bleecker Street and NYX are thug bars. They attract thugs of all races. Places that attract thugs need to be kicked out of Broad Ripple. Ain't nobody got time for that!

  5. Hello everyone, My name is Marian Gareth, I am from the Texas, United State, am here to testify of how i got my loan from Mr Andre Frank {frankloancompany@yahoo.com} after i applied Two times from various loan lenders who claimed to be lenders right in this forum,i thought their lending where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan.Until a friend of mine introduce me to Mr Andre Frank the C.E.O of Andre Frank Loan Company who promised to help me with a loan of my desire and he really did as he promised without any form of delay, I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr Andre Frank, who really help me with my loan and changed my lief for better. I don't know if you are in need of an urgent loan, free feel to contact Mr Andre Frank on his email{ Frankloancompany@yahoo.com} for help

ADVERTISEMENT