CHICAGO (CN) – A “permanent cosmetic” company says it has lost $10 million since a nonprofit association that markets rival products and services began bashing it to industry professionals and the public. The defamation includes false charges that the company uses car paint in its pigment, according to the complaint in Cook County Court.
The American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics dba Premier Products and Premier Pigments, claims Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals has defamed it for 6 years with maliciously accusations that it sells dangerous cosmetic tattoo products, and provides “bogus” training to its permanent-makeup technicians.
Premier says that Society board members, including former Premier distributor Liza Sims, used fake names to post allegations on the “Wake Up in Your Makeup” message board.
It claims the messages falsely accuse Premier’s CEO, Sandi Hammons, of selling bad products, offering “unsanitary” training, and “butchering” and “deforming” customers.
Hammons says she was also falsely accused of certifying technicians after only three days, using “industrial ‘paint'” in pigments, and selling products without testing them.
She claims the Society has republished the messages as testimonials and emailed them to Premier’s potential clients.
Hammons claims that the Society also regularly denounced her company in public forums, telling technicians that Premier violated “bloodborne pathogen standards during trade shows,” and that its training program is a “get rich quick scheme.”
She says that the Society’s trainers have said that Premier’s ink is made of car paint and that its employees are “liars, con artists and thieves.”
Defendant’s board members even announced at a 2008 convention that Premier’s products will “screw you up,” the complaint states. Hammons says that the Society posted the defamatory statements on a Web site called “Premier Pigments; The Big Lie.”
Hammons says Premier has lost clients and potential students due to the society’s defamation, and that her “reality” television contract for $200,000 was canceled by 321 Entertainment after it discovered the disparaging Web site.
In 2004, Premier was investigated by the FDA over concerns that one of its pigment lines had caused severe allergic reactions in about 50 cases, according to MSNBC. In 2006, Premier “applauded” the FDA on its own Web site for declaring the reactions a “rarity,” and clearing its name. Premier also offered to “arrange medical care and support for anyone who has an allergic reaction to permanent cosmetics or tattoo pigments,” according to its Web site.
Hammons seeks damages for defamation, conspiracy, tortious interference, consumer fraud and deceptive trade. Defendants include board members Liza Sims, Karla Kwist, Elizabeth Finch-Howell, Kathleen Ciampi and Judy Newdom, and the Society.
Hammons is represented by George Vurdelja Jr. with Harrison & Held.