A state appellate court panel ruled that the former CEO of the Kardashian licensing company can bring his lawsuit against the famous family before a jury rather than an arbitrator.
The three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal found that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court ruled correctly in April 2018 when she denied a motion by attorneys for the family to force John LaBonty’s case into arbitration.
“Finding no applicable agreement to arbitrate, the trial court denied the Kardashian defendants’ motion to compel arbitration,” Justice Maria Stratton wrote in the 18-page unanimous decision on Monday. “We affirm.”
LaBonty was the CEO of Boldface Group, the licensing company that spearheaded the Kardashian sisters’ makeup collection. He alleges that the reality television family fired him and failed to pay him for his stake in the company.
His suit filed in September 2017 names Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian and their mother Kris Jenner’s company, Momager Inc., along with Hillair Capital Management Inc., an investment fund manager.
LaBonty claims that he is owed $6 million to $32 million despite the restructuring of Boldface in 2014 in order to avoid bankruptcy.
The Kardashian attorneys maintained LaBonty was bound to arbitrate his claims based on his Boldface employment and a 2012 license agreement related to the Kardashians’ cosmetics line that Haven Beauty Inc. bought in a receivership sale. LaBonty was appointed Haven’s CEO in October 2014.
But LaBonty’s lawyers maintained all of his claims were connected to a binding written agreement with some of the defendants that did not have an arbitration clause and that Haven never assumed LaBonty’s Boldface employment agreement.
A status conference is scheduled back in Superior Court on Dec. 10.
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