A fashion designer is suing an apparel company for allegedly using her name and products without compensating her in accordance with an existing agreement. Florida fashion aficionados may be familiar with designer Lei Mamo Howell, who is currently suing Hilo Hattie for breach of contract. The lawsuit was filed on June 6 of this year.
According to the paperwork filed, proper compensation was not remitted to the designer while Hilo Hattie was partnered with her to distribute her clothing. Furthermore, once the partnership ended, the company continued to profit from her work without paying for it. It has been alleged that the company was willfully holding back on promoting Howell's designs until after the 83-year-old passed away.
No amount of damages being sought is specifically named in the suit, but it has been claimed that Hattie had agreed to pay Howell a total of $3,250 a month for life, an amount that has been noted as Howell's sole source of income. The agreement between Howell and Hattie began in 2009 and was formally terminated last year. The case is currently being overseen by a state court in Hawaii.
Suits of this type are not always about financial compensation. Given the advanced age of the plaintiff, it is possible this breach of contract suit is being carried out strictly to ensure the woman is taken care of in her golden years in the way she was allegedly promised in the initial agreement. Florida business owners are reminded by stories of this type that it is always best to honor existing agreements or risk legal troubles further down the line.
Source: bizjournals.com, "Hawaii designer Mamo Howell sues Hilo Hattie for breach of contract", Jason Ubay, June 18, 2014