A self-described “menstrual cup expert” in North Carolina said she created a company that educates women on menstrual cups — the environmentally-friendly alternative to tampons.
That is, until her business partner hijacked it, she says in a new lawsuit.
Charlotte-based blogger Kim Rosas said Amanda Hearn tried to assert sole ownership of their company, Put A Cup In It LLC, and then changed all the passwords on their business accounts, according to the documents filed in North Carolina federal court Tuesday.
“It was just recently that Ms. Hearn took some pretty aggressive action saying, ‘Surprise I own the company, solely,’” Jeremy A. Stephenson of Pope Aylward Sweeney & Stephenson LLP, who is representing Rosas, told McClatchy news group. “Our rush to court was to quash that, or at the very least preserve them as co-owners.”
Hearn is based in Ohio and the pair reportedly ran the business remotely.
Counsel for Hearn and a representative from the company did not immediately respond to McClatchy’s request for comment on Wednesday.
Put A Cup In It started in 2015 when Rosas and Hearn decided to “create kick-ass content with humor and helpful information” about menstrual cups, according to its website.
They started a website, social media accounts and a YouTube channel with more than 40,000 subscribers that shared content about menstrual cups — including blogs, video reviews, quizzes and a shopping page.
Until recently, the complaint states they made little to no profits.
But Hearn still filed papers to form Put A Cup In It as an Ohio-based LLC in December 2017 and “fraudulently represent(ed) herself as the sole owner,” according to the suit.
“It doesn’t create any form of ownership or anything and technically you can file in NC too if you want since the name is only taken in Ohio,” she reportedly told Rosas.
Rosas filed for articles of incorporation in North Carolina in September this year, court documents show.
But revenues reportedly “increased substantially” in 2019 — due mostly to Rosas’ “hard work,” the suit states.
“Defendant Hearn during this time has been experiencing personal difficulties and has put little to no time or work into the company,” attorneys for Rosas said in the complaint.
She reportedly asked Hearn to reevaluate their roles in September so that they “more accurately reflect the work performed and revenues generated by each partner,” the suit states.
“Generally, it seems that you’ve become less communicative and combative along the way,” Rosas said in a letter sent to Hearn included in court documents. “This situation is highly concerning for me since we are 50/50 partners, and created a hostile and inhospitable work environment that I can no longer be apart of.”
Over the next two months, the suit states that Hearn tried to steal the company by filing applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and resetting passwords on company accounts to block Rosas’ access.
“This was done as a deliberately false and fraudulent attempt to secretly steal the company created by Plaintiff Rosas,” the complaint states.
When attorneys for Rosas sent Hearn a cease and desist letter, Hearn’s counsel reportedly responded by claiming the company belongs solely to Hearn. Rosas was deemed a contractor who already received compensation for her work, according to the suit.
The lawsuit makes a series of claims that include breach of partnership agreement, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. It also seeks at least $25,000 in damages.