CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) – The founder of a chain of pole dance-based fitness studios says a former business partner misappropriated one of her outlets and swiped proprietary business information, including her “lap tease” routine, and the name for it.
Kelly Adams claims in Mecklenburg County Court that when she started her business in August 2006, its primary activity was holding “traveling pole parties.” It evolved into a three-studio chain called Pole Dance Charlotte Fun & Fitness Studio, offering dance pole sessions and other fitness classes.
Adams said she created the curriculum and all of its choreography by herself.
In November 2008, Adams said, defendant Raymond Wood approached her and encouraged her to open a fourth Pole Dance Charlotte studio as a tax deduction for the coming tax year.
Adams claims Wood incorporated the new studio as Pole Dance Charlotte at the Lake, and he and Adams shared its start-up costs. Adams says she oversaw all the details of the business.
In late 2009, Adams says, she hired defendant Judith Storey as a freelance teacher, then promoted her to part-time manager, but fired her in January this year for “irreconcilable differences.”
Almost immediately, Adams says, Wood hired both Judith Storey and co-defendant Robert Storey to manage the studio, which he promptly converted to Pole Dance Cornelius Inc.
A week later, Adams says, she received a call from one of her instructors, who told her that the locks to the studio had been changed. The next day, Adams says, she received a Notice of Discontinuance for the lease of the studio and a letter from Wood, terminating their business relationship.
Adams claims the defendants conspired to usurp her interest in the studio, used her copyrighted material on their Web site, and are using her curriculum, methods, designs, techniques and traveling pole party format for profit.
She says they also tried to lure away her customers, inducing them to sign up with the breakaway business by offering one month’s membership free.
Adams seeks injunctive relief, and treble and punitive damages on claims of conspiracy, unfair and deceptive trade practices, interference with actual and prospective economic advantage, and trading on her business’s name.
She is represented by John F. Hanzel of Cornelius, N.C.