SALT LAKE CITY — Former Miss Utah Elizabeth Craig is taking her case against Nu Skin, Provo and a Provo police officer to federal court.
In the lawsuit filed in Utah's U.S. District Court on behalf of Craig and her company, Nu Lite, Monday, Craig argues that her arrest and prosecution for the illegal sale of Nu Skin merchandise damaged her company, reputation in the community and growing career as a motivational speaker. She is seeking at least $1 million in damages.
Craig, Scott Lazerson, and Brady Harper were each charged with three first-degree felonies — pattern of unlawful activity, theft by receiving stolen property and money laundering — in 2010. Though the charges against Craig and Harper were later dismissed, Craig said her career and reputation were ruined by the case and surrounding media coverage.
She alleges that Nu Skin, its employee Lisa Killpack, Provo police detective Ron Gibson, and Provo City violated her U.S. Constitutional rights to equal protection and reasonable search and seizure under the 4th and 14th amendments.
Craig and Harper previously filed a personal injury lawsuit in 4th District Court, but that case was dismissed by Judge David Mortensen after Provo cited Utah's Governmental Immunity Act.
The lawsuit states that Nu Skin throws out millions of dollars worth of expired, overstocked, returned, mislabeled or damaged products every year. Lazerson, a former employee, reached an agreement with members of Nu Skin to have some of those products donated to his organization, Interface, so they could be handed out to the needy rather than be thrown away.
Some products, however, such as exfoliating scrubs and high-end beauty products, didn't seem appropriate to donate to the needy, the suit states. Instead of tossing out those products, Interface contracted with Nu Lite to have those products sold online.
A portion of the proceeds raised by Nu Lite for selling those items was then given back to Interface, which used the money for other charitable work as well as operating expenses, the suit contends.
Nu Skin began to investigate the online sales and Killpack told Gibson that the products were stolen, "even though she knew at the time it had been given freely by Nu Skin employees to Mr. Lazerson," according to the lawsuit.
Police investigators "relied solely on the information provided by Nu Skin" and seized more than $1 million worth of products.
The lawsuit claims those products were never returned to Nu Lite and instead given to Nu Skin — despite the dismissal of the case against Craig and Harper and the court's finding that they had not been stolen.
Craig is seeking a jury trial and damages of at least $1 million.
Email: email@example.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam