Thursday, July 31, 2014

Former Miss Utah takes case against Nu Skin to federal court

By Emiley Morgan, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Feb. 11 2:10 p.m. MST

 Elizabeth Craig, who was crowned Miss Utah 1991-92 on Jan 17 1991, is taking her case against Nu Skin, Provo and a Provo police officer to federal court.

Elizabeth Craig, who was crowned Miss Utah 1991-92 on Jan 17 1991, is taking her case against Nu Skin, Provo and a Provo police officer to federal court.

(Church History Library)

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: emorgan@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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1. The Rock
Federal Way, WA,
Feb. 11, 2014

It sounds like the beauty queen has a case.
The seized her property and did not return it.
They damaged her reputation as well. Very difficult to recover from.

If Nu Skin had required that the donated product be donated to the poor and forbade the resale of the same, it would be different. Apparently they did not place that restriction on the recipient of the products.

While it was not illegal to resale the merchandise, I think it was foul. First you take the donation, then you fail to use it as intended (donate it to the poor) and then you deprive your benefactor of future sales by competing with them. Bad form.

Should have entered into a written agreement up front.

2. From Ted's Head
Orem, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

I can't imagine that Nu Skin would have ever allowed their products to be sold online. I can see them agreeing to donate them and get whatever tax benefit might come from doing so. I have to think that there was a provision against the resale of these products. Were they stolen, as was first alleged and reported? Apparently not. Should the donated products be returned to Craig et al for unauthorized resale online? I would think not.

3. casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

The best defense is a good offense.

4. FREDISDEAD
Layton, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

Hope she wins!

5. sg
newhall, CA,
Feb. 11, 2014

Sounds like she has a case and I hope Nu Skin is found culpable and guilty or character assassination. Once it was proven that she didn't steal anything from Nu Skin, Nu Skin should have released a one-page ad clearing her of all charges and return all the product. It is Nu Skin whose reputation should be tarnished. Sometimes being Golliath shouldn't pay.