LOS ANGELES (CN) – Dr. Phil’s son stole name and branding to create the “P.I.N.K. Method” diet and exercise system series sold on the TV show “Dr. Phil,” a women’s fitness gym says in court.
Pink Iron, a women’s fitness gym in Los Angeles run by Holly Holton, a celebrity personal trainer and former Ms. Fitness America contestant, sued Jay McGraw, the son of TV personality Dr. Phil, claiming he used the gym’s branding for a series of home workout DVDs when Horton refused to hand over the rights to the name of her gym.
Dr. Phil McGraw is not a party to the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
In November 2010, McGraw approached Holton with an idea for a DVD series based on Pink Iron’s branding that he would call the “Pink Iron Workout,” according to the complaint.
McGraw said he wanted Holton to be the spokesperson to market the workout DVD and “made it clear that no other spokesperson will have a more significant role than Holly,” the complaint states.
Like his father, Jay McGraw is involved in television dealing with health advice. Jay McGraw produces the TV show “The Doctors.” He allegedly told Holton “My Dad will market the shit out of Pink Iron.”
Then in December 2010, McGraw allegedly formed the company Pink Iron Home Fitness Inc. without informing the Pink Iron gym. At the end of the following month, McGraw’s attorney Christopher Chatham (not a defendant) presented Holton with agreements.
Chatham allegedly told Holton she and her gym “will get exposure from Jay, unlike any you could ever get on your own” and that she “would be on ‘The Dr. Phil Show’ and ‘The Doctors,’ and that the name will be everywhere.”
Despite promising to “blow them up,” Chatham did not mention any compensation for handing over the gym’s name.
Holton and Pink Iron’s president Rick Robles “told Chris Chatham that they were uncomfortable with the agreement as Pink Iron was their creation and ‘baby’ and did not want to simply give the name away,” the complaint states.
It continues: “At that time, Chris Chatham became almost aggressive, stating that Jay McGraw could do this for anyone and that they were lucky that he picked them. Chris Chatham strongly recommended that they take the deal because once they say ‘no,’ then Jay McGraw will not want to have anything to do with them and that there was no negotiating the initial agreement. Jay McGraw is the author of a book titled ‘Life Strategies for Dealing with Bullies.'”
At one meeting with Holton and Robles, McGraw allegedly told them “let’s leave the lawyers out of this. They seem to mess everything up.”
But McGraw himself is an attorney, according to the lawsuit.
Holton’s Pink Iron and McGraw’s Pink Iron Home Fitness reached an agreement in January where the gym owns the character mark in connection to health club services and personal training, the complaint states.
The agreement also allowed their marks to be used to create home fitness videos and fitness clothes and accessories, which would be sold at Pink Iron gyms. Additionally, Holton would be the spokesperson for the company, according to the complaint.
However, just one month after signing the agreement, Pink Iron Home Fitness’ president Scott Waterbury terminated it, even though the agreement required a six-month written notice of termination, the complaint states.
Then in April 2011, Waterbury changed the name of Pink Iron Home Fitness to Pink Method, and the former company started by McGraw was replaced.
The complaint refers to a “Newsweek” article published in April of this year entitled “Have I Got a Diet for You! Dr. Phil’s Hype Machine,” which explained why the company changed its name.
The article says former fitness competitor Cynthia Pasquella created a weight-loss program called the “P.I.N.K.” method (Power, Intensity, Nutrition, and Kardio), which it reports was presented on Dr. Phil’s show and incorporated by Scott Waterbury.
The complaint claims it “appears to defy logic” that McGraw told Newsweek that he “had no involvement in the creation of the P.I.N.K. Method diet and…merely coordinated the publication of the book.”
The Newsweek article said that the P.I.N.K. Method “has also become a commercial hit [as was ‘The 17 Day Diet’] after a similarly intensive promotional effort by the McGraw’s; the plan sold 150,000 copies in three months, according to its author,” the lawsuit states.
“It does not appear to be a coincidence that defendant Pink Iron Home Fitness’ spokesperson, Holly Holton, and defendant Pink Method’s spokesperson, Cynthia Pasquella, share a striking resemblance,” according to the complaint.
Pink Iron sued McGraw and his publishing company, M Print Publishing, along with Scott Waterbury, Pink Method Inc. and Pink Iron Home Fitness Inc. for breach of contract claims.
The company is represented by Michael Waddington of Beverly Hills, Calif.