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Yetter Coleman Wins $2.7M Jury Verdict for Defendant

On September 27, 2019, Yetter Coleman resolved four years of bitter litigation with a $2.7M jury verdict in favor of its defense client, Netherlands-based Benelux Cosmetics, after a three-week trial in Houston state court. Benelux hired Yetter Coleman to step into the case, long after discovery closed and experts were named, to handle the trial four months later. The case involved document production from 13 different companies, a slate of international witnesses, and a settlement demand against our client.

In 2013, Benelux entered an exclusive distribution agreement with GHP Nail Systems, LLC, based in Texas, to distribute GHP’s gel nail polish to retailers in Europe. After delivery of the polish to retailers, customers began reporting serious problems, including polish curing inside bottles, empty bottles, noxious smells, and severe damage to nails after using the polish. Benelux eventually terminated the agreement in 2015.

In response, GHP went on the offensive. In 2016, it sued Benelux for contract breach, conversion, and business disparagement, claiming Benelux failed to pay for the defective product. It later added claims alleging that Benelux misappropriated its trade secrets in selling a different gel polish after terminating the contract. Benelux brought counterclaims of its own, for breach of contract/warranty, fraud, and violations of the Texas consumer protection statute.

Three weeks of hotly contested trial ensued. After deliberating for just a couple of hours, the jury found entirely for our client. It rejected all of GHP’s claims and found it liable for every Benelux counterclaim. The final $2.7M award included actual damages, penalty damages, and attorney fees. The jury also found GHP’s parent company, Je Matadi, Inc., responsible under an alter ego theory, ensuring that the judgment will be paid.

Yetter Coleman’s trial team was led by Collin Cox, along with Elizabeth Wyman and Heaven Chee. The case is No. 2016-19641 in the District Court of Harris County, Texas.