Defamation Case Against Florida Salon Owner to Move Forward
January 24, 2018. Miami, Florida – A federal judge has denied a motion by Mags Kavanaugh, owner of California Beauty Studios, to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed against her by MONAT Global Corp, a world-class designer, manufacturer, and distributor of hair care products.
The suit alleges Kavanaugh has made repeated, malicious, and false claims against MONAT, its products, and employees for her own personal and financial gain. Further, the suit maintains that she deliberately misled customers about the safety of MONAT products for the sole purpose of diverting sales to her own business.
On Monday, January 22nd, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday ruled in favor of MONAT on all four matters at hand in denying Kavanaugh’s motion to dismiss. In doing so, the Court will now allow MONAT’s lawsuit against Kavanaugh to proceed.
Judge Merryday writes that Kavanaugh’s alleged statements, though “masquerading as opinion,” are specific and objective assertions, offering “no [First Amendment] protection to a defendant who misrepresents a fact to a prospective customer.”
Stuart MacMillan, President of MONAT Global said, “as a licensed cosmetologist, Mags Kavanaugh has specialized knowledge in the hair care industry, and a distinct responsibility to provide honest, ethical judgment for her customers. Monat believes she failed that responsibility.
However, what surprises me the most is the harsh and unprofessional way in which she attacked MONAT and its independent distributors.” Judge Merryday also ruled in favor of MONAT in allowing liability and damages to be extended to Kavanaugh’s beauty salon, California Beauty Studios. The order further states, “California Beauty Studios bears vicarious liability for Kavanaugh’s statements because Kavanaugh allegedly spoke ‘with the purpose of influencing consumers to buy the products Kavanaugh sells at Beauty Studios.’”
The company seeks permanent injunctive relief against Kavanaugh and anyone affiliated with California Beauty Studios, as well as punitive damages in excess of $250,000 for her intentional and maliciously false statements.
For more information, please contact Thomas J. Hoolihan, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at MONAT Global Corp, at (786) 497-5342.