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MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT: Overview, Updates, and Discussion

June 3, 2014

MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT: Overview, Updates, and Discussion Links

Thanks to all those who provided support, advice and assistance, especially California franchise attorney Peter Lagarias who did a stellar job. – Sean Kelly

Media inquiries:  For more information or to arrange an interview with Sean Kelly and/or Peter Lagarias, please email UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail,com.

Overview of Golob v. Kelly Lawsuit:

$35,000,000 Lawsuit Backfires on Health Club Franchisor   May 27, 2014

Mark Golob v Sean Kelly (UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Lawsuit Documents  May 27, 2014

 

Golob v. Kelly on the web:

(BlueMauMau.Org)  Mark Golob Targets Franchisee Speech  2/23, 2014 Corbin Williston

(BlueMauMau.Org)  Free Speech Wins! Butterfly Fitness Ex-CEO Mark Golob, Lawyer Nikolaus Reed Lose Defamation Suit against Unhappy Franchisee 6/2/14

(BlueMauMau.Org) Part 2: Freedom of the Press Includes Bloggers

(BlueMauMau.Org)  Butterfly Fitness’ Timetable of Trouble with California’s Regulators

(AnnLogue.Com) Another blogger fights a SLAAP suit and wins   June 2, 2014,  Ann Logue

(Senator Stewart Greenleaf)  Sean Kelly – Senator Stewart Greenleaf

(Club Industry) Butterfly Life Founder Loses Lawsuit Over Free Speech  July 1, 2014

 

More UnhappyFranchisee.Com posts:

MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT Is Attorney Nikolaus Reed SLAPPING Me?

MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT: Does Mark Golob Have a History of Litigation in the Health Club Industry?

MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT: Why PA Needs Anti-SLAPP Senate Bill 1095 [UPDATED]  May 30, 2014

The Original Butterfly Life Posts, Interviews & Comments:

BUTTERFLY LIFE FRANCHISE DISCUSSION

BUTTERFLY LIFE: Franchisees Mourn the Loss of Cynthia Holt August 25, 2008

BUTTERFLY LIFE: Franchisees Lose Arbitration? March 15, 2009

BUTTERFLY LIFE: Jeff Marks, Ex-Franchisee

BUTTERFLY LIFE: Carol King, Ex-Franchisee

BUTTERFLY LIFE: Linda McBride, Ex-Franchisee

BUTTERFLY LIFE: Julie Franco, Ex-Franchisee

BUTTERFLY LIFE: Lisle Head, Ex-Franchisee

BUTTERFLY LIFE: Michael Motes, Ex-Franchisee

BUTTERFLY LIFE: Interview With Franchisee Matt Wilson

 

Help Support UnhappyFranchisee.Com & Sean Kelly’s Legal Defense:

Make a Contribution or Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com for other ways you can help!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  PLEASE SHARE A COMMENT, OPINION OR WORD OF SUPPORT BELOW.

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TAGS: Mark Golob, Mark Golub lawsuit, Butterfly Life lawsuit, Unhappy Franchisee lawsuit, Nikolaus W. Reed, Nikolaus Reed,  Sean Kelly, Tom Gergeley, SLAPP lawsuit, frivolous lawsuit, franchise lawsuit, Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation

CURVES Rated a Worst Franchise by Forbes. Do You Agree?

May 29, 2014

The Curves franchise was rated one of the worst franchise opportunities in America by Forbes magazine.

Do you agree that Curves is one of the worst franchises of 2014? 

Why or why not?

Please share a comment below.

See all our FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

Also read:  CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee [UPDATED]

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  The June 16, 2014 issue of Forbes magazine features their picks for America’s Best And Worst Franchises.

The Curves franchise made the Forbes list of the worst franchise opportunities in the 0 – $150,000 investment range.

The Forbes ranking for Curves included the following assessment:

No. 7 Curves

Offers strength-training and weight-loss sessions for women, as well as meal plans and apparel.

Average Initial Investment: $48,663

Initial Training Hours: 15-38

Growth rate: –18%

Continuity: 39%

Franchisor Support: C

Here are the rest of Forbes worst franchises:

Forbes Worst Franchises with 0 – $150,000 Investments

(With #1 being the worst)

#1  SuperCoups

Concept: Franchisees send coupons to consumers, direct-mails ads for small businesses.

#2 Realty World

Concept: Franchisees sell residential properties and offers online tools and mortgage options to home buyers.

#3 Parable

Concept: Franchisees retail Christian-themed merchandise like books and music.

#4 UBuildIt

Concept: Franchisees help manage a remodeling job or new construction with its own team on-site.

#5 Aero Colours

Concept: Franchisees offer paint, bumper and bedliner repair for cars and trucks, with a traveling unit that makes house calls.

#6 All Tune and Lube

Concept: Franchisees provide tire, engine, transmission and general auto maintenance at its locations.

#7 Curves

Concept: Franchisees offer strength-training and weight-loss sessions for women, as well as meal plans and apparel.

#8 House Doctors

Concept: Franchisees deliver handyman services, from small-scale fixes to full-blown home remodeling.

#9 ERA Real Estate

Concept: Franchisees walk clients through buying and selling a home, finding an agent and a mortgage.

#10 Fastframe

Concept: Franchisees build custom frames and mats for photos, artwork, mirrors and flat-screen TVs.

See all Forbes Worst Franchises here:

America’s Best And Worst Franchises

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TAGS: Curves, Curves franchise, Curves franchise complaints, Worst franchise, Forbes Worst franchises, franchise, franchising, Unhappy Franchisee

Mark Golob v Sean Kelly (UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Lawsuit Documents

May 27, 2014

Mark Golob, founder of the failed Butterfly Life fitness chain, sued blogger and web publisher Sean Kelly for $35,000,000 for unflattering statements he made about Golob’s “history of litigation” and “checkered past” on Kelly’s UnhappyFranchisee.Com website.

Sean Kelly, represented by San Francisco attorney Peter Lagarias, filed for a Motion to Strike under the California anti-SLAPP law.

Judge Richard J. Henderson ruled “the court has found that defendant Sean Kelly made a prima facie showing by admissible evidence that the challenged statements set forth in defendant Sean Kelly’s unhappyfranchisee.com website were made in a ‘public forum in connection with an issue of public interest’”

“Defendant Kelly has prevailed on his motion and is entitled to the recovery of his attorney fees incurred in this motion…”

Read Sean Kelly’s account here:  $35,000,000 Lawsuit Backfires on Health Club Franchisor

The case files are listed below.

Initial Summons:  Golob v. Kelly

February 5, 2014

Golob v. Kelly (UnhappyFranchisee.Com)

February 24, 2014

Letter from Nikolaus Reed to Sean Kelly

 

Kelly/Lagarias Motion to Strike

March 14, 2014

Declaration of Sean Kelly

Notice of Motion to Strike

Memorandum of Points and Authorities

Request for Judicial Notice

Exhibit A Part 1

Exhibit A Part 2, B, C1, C2, D, E, F, G, H, I J1

Exhibit J-2, K, L, M

 

Golob/Reed Opposition to Motion to Strike

March 28, 2014

Declaration of Mark Golob

Mark Golob’s Objection to SK Declaration

Mark Golob’s Points and Authorities

 

Kelly/Lagarias Reply to Golob’s Opposition

April 2, 2014

Reply Declaration of Sean Kelly

Kelly Reply to Evidentiary Objections

Reply MPA Points and Authorities

Objection to Mark Golob’s Declaration Evidence

 

Judge Henderson’s Decision

May 21, 2014

Judge Henderson’s Decision in Golob v. Kelly

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TAGS: Mark Golob, Nikolaus Reed, SLAPP lawsuit, Anti-SLAPP lawsuit, Unhappy Franchisee, Sean Kelly, Peter Lagarias, 1st Amendment lawsuit, Defamation lawsuit, Butterfly Life, Frivolous lawsuit, franchise bullying

$35,000,000 Lawsuit Backfires on Health Club Franchisor

May 27, 2014

Attempt to Silence Franchise Discussion on UnhappyFranchisee.Com Proves Costly For Failed Franchisor

by Sean Kelly, Publisher, UnhappyFranchisee.Com

Also read:  MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT: Overview, Updates, and Discussion

Mark Golob thought that he could misuse the judicial system to chill free speech and purge the Internet of unflattering comments made about him by his former franchisees.

Mark Golob sued me for $35,000,000 in an effort to bully me into removing interviews and comments about him from UnhappyFranchisee.Com.

However, Mark Golob’s plan backfired in a big way.

A Superior Court judge struck down his lawsuit and ordered him to pay my attorney fees and costs.

Instead of purging the Internet of criticism, Mark Golob has thrust himself and the story of his failed Butterfly Life franchise chain back in the media spotlight once again.

Mark Golob’s Attempt to Purge Criticism from the Internet

In the wake of the success of the Curves for Women, Mark Golob founded Butterfly Life women’s fitness chain in 2003 and sold dozens of franchises at an investment of $87,000 to $250,000.

Mark GolobBy 2008, the chain was in decline, suffering widespread franchise closures and impending lawsuits from angry franchise owners.

In both formal interviews and informal comments posted on my UnhappyFranchisee.Com blog, failed and failing Butterfly Life franchisees shared their experiences and described the financial and personal toll their franchise investments were taking.

Many franchisees blamed CEO Mark Golob, alleging that he misrepresented the franchise opportunity and failed to provide promised marketing and advertising support.

In 2011, Mr. Golob’s then-attorney Scott Hammel sent me a threatening letter objecting to some comments and demanding that I remove all references to his client from UnhappyFranchisee.Com.  I refused, and provided him with an excerpt of Section 230 United States Code (47 USC § 230) that states that web publishers are not liable for the content of 3rd party comments.

In February, 2014, Mark Golob, with his new attorney Nikolaus Reed, tried a new approach: they filed a $35,000,000 defamation lawsuit against me, claiming that my own statements that Mr. Golob has a “checkered past” and a “history of litigation in the health club industry” tended to expose him to “hatred, contempt, ridicule or shame and to discourage others from associating or dealing with him.”

The lawsuit stated that “When Plaintiff Mr. Golob read the statements in January, 2014 in his home in Mendocino County, CA… he experienced mental suffering, grief, anxiety, humiliation and emotional distress.”

The damages claimed by Mr. Golob included $10M each for “Pain, suffering, and inconvenience,” “Emotional distress,” and “Grief, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life,” and $1M each for “Medical expenses,” “Future medical expenses,” “Loss of earnings,” “Loss of future earnings,” “Loss of future earning capacity,” and “Property damage.”

Read the initial summons here:  Golob v. Kelly.

The True Intent of the $35M Lawsuit

After being served, I consulted with a number of prominent 1st Amendment attorneys and organizations.

After much research, I hired Peter Lagarias, a highly respected California-based franchise attorney and former lead prosecutor for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Everyone I spoke to agreed with my assessment that my statements were not even remotely defamatory.

That Mr. Golob has a “history of litigation” is a provable fact, and stating the truth is not defamation.

That Mr. Golob has a “checkered past” is clearly my opinion, and stating an opinion does not constitute defamation.

So why would Mark Golob and Nikolaus Reed launch such a high-dollar lawsuit based on comments that seemed mild, at best?

In a March 10, 2014 conference call between myself, Lagarias, Golob, and Reed, the true intention of the lawsuit became clear.

Golob was not concerned about the specific statements cited in the lawsuit.

His objection to “history of litigation” and “checkered past” was just a pretense to hit me with a scary and costly lawsuit he believed would force me to remove all content that referenced him – including 3rd party comments and franchisee interviews.

Mr. Golob stated he would do “whatever it takes” to force me to remove content “anywhere [his] name appears” on the site.

Nikolaus ReedLagarias & Kelly SLAPP Back

California’s anti-SLAPP law Section 425.16 states:

…there has been a disturbing increase in lawsuits brought primarily to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech… The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public interest to encourage continued participation in matters of public significance, and that this participation should not be chilled through abuse of the judicial process.

The law states that lawsuits filed against Defendants who are exercising their Consitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue are subject to a special motion to strike “unless the plaintiff has established that there is a probability that the plaintiff will prevail on the claim.”

March 14, 2014 Peter Lagarias filed a Special Motion to Strike the Golob v. Kelly lawsuit.

March 28, 2014 We received Golob & Reed’s Opposition to our Special Motion to Strike.

April 2, 2014 We filed a Reply to their Opposition.

April 11, 2014 Peter Lagarias argued for the Special Motion to Strike before Judge Richard J. Henderson in the California Superior Court in Mendocino County. Nikolaus Reed argued his case by phone.

May 21, 2014 Judge Henderson rendered his verdict in a 9-page decision, stating that “Defendant Kelly has prevailed on his motion and is entitled to the recovery of his attorney fees incurred in this motion.”

I’ve posted all the documents from our court battle here:  Mark Golob v Sean Kelly (UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Lawsuit Documents

Judge Rules UnhappyFranchisee.Com Statements are Protected Speech on an Issue of Public Interest

In his decision, Judge Henderson ruled that we proved that “the challenged written remarks were made in a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest.”

As to the validity and legitimacy of the UnhappyFranchisee.Com site as a public forum, Judge Henderson stated:

The court finds that the principal thrust or gravamen of Kelly’s website was to provide a forum for those interested in acquiring more information about specific franchises, primarily for the purpose of investment and operation. The site performed generally as a “consumer watchdog” where interested individuals could exchange ideas and experiences about particular franchises… Kelly’s challenged comments that Golob had a “checkered” past and “history of litigation in the health club industry” are sufficiently related to “consumer watchdog” purpose of the website.

Regarding my statement that Mark Golob has a “history of litigation,” Judge Henderson stated:

.. the allegation that Golob had a “history of litigation in the health club industry” is accurate. Truth of the statements made is a complete defense against liability for defamation…

Regarding my statement that Mark Golob has a “checkered past,” Judge Henderson stated:

The characterizationon Golob’s past as “checkered” is clearly an opinion; statements of opinion are constitutionally protected…

Judge Henderson concluded:

As discussed above, the court has found that defendant Sean Kelly made a prima facie showing by admissible evidence that the challenged statements set forth in defendant Sean Kelly’s unhappyfranchisee.com website were made in a “public forum in connection with an issue of public interest” (CCP 425.10 (e)) and that plaintiff Golob failed to establish a “probability” of prevailing on his claim by making a prima facie showing by admissible evidence that would, if proved, support a judgment in his favor. ( Kashian v Harriman (2002) 98 CA4th 982, 906) The motion of defendant Sean Kelly to strike the complaint of plaintiff Mark Golob pursuant to CCP 425.16 is granted.

Defendant Kelly has prevailed on his motion and is entitled to the recovery of his attorney fees incurred in this motion. ( CCP 425.J 6(c),• Ketchum v Moses (2001) 24 C4th 1122, 1131.) Counsel for defendant Kelly is directed to serve and submit a formal order consistent with this ruling no later than June 16, 2014.

Read the complete ruling here:  Judge Henderson’s Decision Golob v. Kelly

A Word of Thanks

Special thanks go out to attorney Peter Lagarias for his fierce and relentless advocacy not only for UnhappyFranchisee.Com, but for the rights of franchisees and former franchisees.

I’d also like to thank Duffy Carolan of Duffy, Vick, Carolan, Ken White publisher of Popehat.com and attorney at Brown, White & Newhouse, attorney Paul Steinberg, and Don Sniegowski of BlueMauMau.org and many others who lended support and guidance.

I can’t tell you how much your support is appreciated. – Sean Kelly

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TAGS: Mark Golob, Nikolaus Reed, SLAPP lawsuit, Anti-SLAPP lawsuit, Unhappy Franchisee, Sean Kelly, Peter Lagarias, 1st Amendment lawsuit, Defamation lawsuit, Butterfly Life, Frivolous lawsuit, franchise bullying

CURVES Prepares for Negative Forbes Story

May 25, 2014

by Sean Kelly ,UnhappyFranchisee.Com

Curves International is bracing itself for a negative franchise story expected to appear on Forbes.Com as early as Tuesday, and to appear in the print edition of Forbes magazine the first week of June, 2014.

Curves and its private equity investor North Castle Partners appear to be battening down the hatches and donning their damage control garb in anticipation of the worst.

They sent an email to their franchisees and managers (see full text below) warning them to direct media inquiries to their PR team.

Curves PR team will likely react to media inquiries with the same level of transparency and candor as is reflected in their prepared statement for members:

“At Curves, we are proud of our standing as the world’s largest chain of fitness centers for women.  We are committed to providing high-quality, personalized programs and solutions for our members while supporting our franchisees and positioning them for success.”

UnhappyFranchisee.Com: Hosting Curves Franchise Complaints Since 2006

UnhappyFranchisee.Com (and our predecessor FranchisePick.Com) has been  home to insider Curves franchise discussions and news since 2006.

You can see an index of our posts here:  Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee

One post has more than 1300 comments: CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has provided Curves franchisees with a forum to exchange information, ideas and mutual support throughout the painful decline and failures of thousands of franchise locations.

We have published more than 50 posts on Curves, and generated thousands of complaints from failed and failing Curves franchisees.

In 2005, Curves peaked with 7800 U.S. franchise locations.  By the end of 2012 that number had declined more than 60% to just 2854 U.S. franchise locations.

See:  CURVES: The Rise & Painful Fall of the Curves Franchise Chain

Curves Franchise Owners Allege Corporate Indifference to Franchisee Suffering

Since 2006, franchisees have complained that Curves International turned a blind eye to their struggles and inability to compete in the marketplace with an outdated, uncompetitive fitness model.

Franchisees complained that once their franchises failed, founder Gary Heavin’s “Christian” company subjected them to coldhearted, brutal collection tactics to extract “failure fees” even after they had lost everything.

More recently, the franchisee survivors complain that new owner North Castle Partners has imposed unreasonable new conditions and required them to make burdensome and costly changes.

Additionally, franchisees have complained that North Castle Partners (which recently acquired Jenny Craig weight loss chain) is forcing Curves owners to go into the weight loss industry – without their input or approval.

Damage Control Email from Curves International to Curves Franchisees & Managers

Last week, Curves franchisees report that they received this email from Curves International:

Dear Franchisees,

Within the next week, we expect Forbes (a business publication) will publish an article about Curves International, Inc. and we want to share the details with you upfront.

A reporter from Forbes contacted us for input as he was crafting a story on Curves.  His article was driven by contacting some franchisees – former and current – who regularly complain in an online forum.  While this is not a story we actively pursued ourselves, we provided our point of view and also put the reporter in touch with several franchisees who shared their positive experiences with Curves.  This reporter also interviewed the appropriate executive from North Castle Partners, as well as Monty Sharma.

We anticipate the article will be posted online next week Tuesday or Wednesday and will appear in the print edition of the magazine the first week of June.  Based on our ongoing conversations with the reporter, we believe the article will have a negative slant.

Should you receive inquiries on the subject from the news media please direct the news media to PR@Curves.com and do not respond yourself as this messaging should be handled at the corporate level.  For Curves members, please use the following prepared statement:

“At Curves, we are proud of our standing as the world’s largest chain of fitness centers for women.  We are committed to providing high-quality, personalized programs and solutions for our members while supporting our franchisees and positioning them for success.”

We want to point out the positive media coverage our PR team has secured thus far in 2014 that drives home the message to our target consumer that Curves works and is highly relevant in a competitive landscape.  Media coverage includes weight loss success stories on the TODAY Show and in magazines like Prevention, Family Circle and Woman’s Day.  For Curves Workouts with Jillian Michaels, we have been prominently featured in outlets such as the TODAY Show, Rachael Ray, Wendy Williams, PEOPLE magazine, Extra, Access Hollywood online, the Daily Buzz, The Insider – and many more.

We want you to know that we continue to be committed to the success of the Curves brand and to the success of your business.  We are continually looking for ways to make improvements and value your input.  Please feel free to contact us directly to share your comments or questions at membercomments@curves.com.

Best regards,

Curves International

I was interviewed for the Forbes story by Forbes writer Karsten Strauss, as was attorneyJonathan Fortman who is representing multiple Curves franchisees in litigation against the franchisor.

We also expect an online story highlighting the franchise buying advice gleaned from the experiences of UnhappyFranchisee.Com contributors.

Check back for our updates as the Curves story breaks.

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TAGS: Curves, Curves International, Curves franchise, Curves lawsuit, Curves class action lawsuit, Curves failures, Curves complaints, North Castle Partners, Monty Sharma, Jenny Craig, Fitness franchise, Jon Fortman, Sean Kelly, Unhappy Franchisee

CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee [UPDATED]

May 25, 2014

Curves posts on UnhappyFranchisee.Com provides and index of links to our stories and discussions of the Curves franchise program from the franchisee’s point-of-view.

Unhappy Franchisee has been following Curves International and the issues facing Curves franchise owners since 2008. Prior to that we published Curves news and hosted discussions on FranchisePick.com (now archived at EveryJoe.com).

 

Curves Franchise:  Latest Posts

CURVES Prepares for Negative Forbes Story  May 25, 2014

CURVES: The Rise & Painful Fall of the Curves Franchise Chain[UPDATED]

 

Curves Franchise:  Most Commented Posts

CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story   March 10, 2009 (1300+ Comments)

CURVES: Negotiating the $10,000 Closing Fee October 12, 2009 (149 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Business Broker Slams Curves Franchise and Franchisor November 15, 2008 (129 Comments)

CURVES DISCUSSION: Benefits of a Franchisee Lawsuit? August 18, 2008 (78 Comments)

 

Curves Franchise:  2013 Posts

CURVES Monty Sharma’s WTF? Email to Curves Franchisees about Jenny Craig Acquisition

CURVES: North Castle Partners Press Release on Jenny Craig Acquisition

CURVES Owner North Castle Partners Acquires Jenny Craig  

 

Curves Franchise: 2012 Curves Posts

CurvesCURVES: The Rise & Painful Fall of the Curves Franchise Chain  June 19, 2012

CURVES Sold? Gary Heavin Out?   July 27, 2012

CURVES: Say Goodbye to Gary Heavin! August 8, 2012

CURVES Franchise: Curves Still Bullying Failed Franchise Owners September 18, 2012

CURVES AUSTRALIA Franchise Complaints February 22, 2012

Did CURVES President Mike Raymond Get Pruned? February 16, 2012

CURVES: Why Did the Curves Franchisee Association Fail? (Part 1) February 2, 2012  

 

Curves Franchise: 2011 Posts

Gary Heavin on ABC Secret Millionaire: What do CURVES Franchisees Think?   March 1, 2011

 

Curves Franchise: 2010 Posts

Gary Heavin on ABC Secret Millionaire: What do CURVES Franchisees Think?  March 1, 2011

Has CURVES Become the “Trailer Park of Gyms”? November 30, 2010

CURVES Franchise Lawsuit Settlements  September 30, 2010

CURVES International 2010 Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)  September 29, 2010

CURVES Franchise Owners React to Comments That They’re Being “Pruned”  July 10, 2010 (33 Comments)

CURVES: 1000 Franchise Clubs Failed Last Year  July 8, 2010

Failure Rates of the 10 Most Popular Franchises April 26, 2010

CURVES: 5 West Virginia Curves Close Abruptly February 22, 2010 (3 Comments)

CURVES: Should Failed Franchises be Resold? March 31, 2010 (33 Comments)

CURVES: Can Indie Clubs Thrive Where Curves Failed?   January 19, 2010 (64 Comments)

CURVES Franchisee Regrets Not Sticking It to Others   January 7, 2010 (39 Comments)

 

Curves Franchise: 2009 Curves Posts

CURVES: Complaints of Unauthorized Membership Charges November 18, 2009 (7 Comments)

CURVES: “Another Curves nightmare. Please advise!” November 10, 2009 (7 Comments)

CURVES: Franchise Resale Complaints, Comments October 31, 2009 (1 Comments)

CURVES: Franchise Resale Buyer Alleges Fraud October 31, 2009 (1 Comments)

CURVES: In Oregon, Curves Franchises Die Alone October 18, 2009 (1 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Advice on Buying a Franchise Resale February 24, 2009 (15 Comments)

 

Curves Franchise: 2008 Curves Posts

Curves Franchisee Blames Economy for Closing  December 21, 2008 (1 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Nearly Half The Palm Beach Clubs Have Closed  November 15, 2008 (17 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Franchisee a Victim of Fraud? September 14, 2008 (22 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Is McCord Brokers Required for Resales? August 13, 2008 (3 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: An Unhappy Franchisee Tale  August 13, 2008 (6 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: UFOC dated March, 2008 June 23, 2008 (0 Comments)

Another Curves Shuts Down Abruptly June 14, 2008 (1 Comments)

Cape Girardeau Curves Franchise Closes  June 10, 2008 (0 Comments)

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CURVES & THE CURVES FRANCHISE?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

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TAGS: Curves, Curves International, Curves franchise, Curves lawsuit, Curves class action lawsuit, Curves failures, Curves complaints, North Castle Partners, Monty Sharma, Gary Heavin, Diane Heavin, Fitness franchise, Sean Kelly, Unhappy Franchisee

MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT Is Attorney Nikolaus Reed SLAPPING Me?

February 25, 2014

by Sean Kelly, UnhappyFranchisee.Com

Last week, San Francisco Attorney Nikolaus W. Reed slapped (or perhaps SLAPPed) me with a $35,000,000 defamation lawsuit on behalf of his client, Mark Golob.

I say SLAPPed because that’s what I suspect this lawsuit is: a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (or SLAPP).

A SLAPP is a lawsuit that the suing party (or Plaintiff) has no real intention of winning.

In my understanding, it’s used by people who have enough money to threaten, intimidate and financially drain the resources of those who have expressed opinions they don’t like.

It’s a crass manipulation of the legal system to take away an opponent’s right to express his or her opinions (ie Public Participation), a right that’s protected by the 1st Amendment.

For that reason, filing a SLAPP is against the law in California.

Why would Mark Golob & Nikolaus Reed SLAPP me?

Mark Golob was founder,  CEO and President of a women’s fitness concept called Butterfly Life.  In the mid to late 2000s, Mr. Golob and his staff sold individual and area development franchise opportunities requiring an investment ranging from $90,000 to $287,000.  Eventually, the franchises failed, the franchisees’ investments were lost and the franchise chain folded.

In 2008, I conducted short interviews with 7 Butterfly Life franchisees about their experiences:  Jeff Marks, Carol King, Linda McBride,  Julie Franco, Lisle Head, Michael Motes, and Matt Wilson.

I also posted the tragic news when Butterfly Life franchisee Cynthia Holt took her own life, and when the franchisees lost their litigation against the franchisor when they could not come up with the arbitration fee.

I suspect that Mr. Golob is suing me in order to get these unflattering interviews and the accompanying comments removed from the Internet.

Perhaps he hired Mr. Reed to threaten and intimidate me to the point where I’ll willingly take the content down, and/or he can bankrupt me and destroy the site.

And since he has no valid justification for suing me (in my opinion), perhaps he is resorting to an invalid method:  SLAPPing.

Nikolaus Reed’s own website states that the statute of limitations has passed

Nikolaus ReedWhy do I suspect that attorney Nikolaus Reed is knowingly filing a lawsuit he knows is not credible?

Because the statute of limitations for defamation in California is 1 year from the date of first publication.  The comments Reed claims are defamatory were published nearly six years ago.

Mr. Reed states, on the page titled “Defamation, Libel, Slander” on his own website:

Unfortunately, the statute of limitations [in California] does not last long (ONE YEAR) and if you do not seek compensation from the offender before that time, no one can help you…

In the complaint, Nikolaus Reed references that his client read the comments in January, 2014, as if the date of “reading” is relevant.

[Update:  Later, Mark Golob would claim I made a new post in January, 2014 that included allegedly defamatory statements, though he wouldn’t submit a copy of the allegedly defamatory posting.  I hadn’t posted since 2008.]

According to the Digital Media Law Project (DMLP) website:

California’s statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year. See California Code of Civil Procedure 340(c).

California applies the single publication rule pursuant to California Civil Code 3425.1-3425.5. A California Court of Appeals recognized the single publication rule in the context of publications on the Internet. Traditional Cat Ass’n, Inc. v. Gilbreath, 13 Cal.Rptr.3d 353, 358 (Cal. Ct. App. 2004).

The DMLP site explains the “Single Publication Rule”:

Most states have adopted the so-called “single publication rule,” which states that the statute of limitations period begins to run when a defamatory statement is first published… [In cases regarding the Internet], the statute of limitation period begins when a defamatory statement is first made available online.

If I, a lowly blogger and non-attorney, could find this information with a couple of Google searches, it seems likely that California attorney Nikolaus Reed knew ful-well that the statute of limitations for Mr. Golob’s lawsuit had run out nearly 5 years ago.

But he filed it anyway.

Be careful who you SLAPP.  They might SLAPPback.

In the midst of all this nastiness, there is some good news.

According to the DMLP site, those who are SLAPPed can SLAPPback:

If you prevail on a motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, the court will dismiss the lawsuit against you, and you will be entitled to recover your attorneys’ fees and court costs. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16(c).

Additionally, if you win your motion to strike and believe that you can show that the plaintiff filed the lawsuit in order to harass or silence you rather than to resolve a legitimate legal claim, then consider filing a “SLAPPback” suit against your opponent. A “SLAPPback” is a lawsuit you can bring against the person who filed the SLAPP suit to recover compensatory and punitive damages for abuse of the legal process…

If your successful motion to quash arises out of a lawsuit filed in a California court, the judge has discretion to award expenses incurred in making the motion. The court will award fees if the plaintiff opposed your motion “in bad faith or without substantial justification,” or if at least one part of the subpoena was “oppressive.” Cal. Civ. Pro. Code § 1987.2(a).

Interesting stuff.  I’m off to speak to attorneys specializing in anti-SLAPP lawsuits.

If you have a recommendation, or an opinion on whether this qualifies as a SLAPP, please comment below or email me at UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com.

[UPDATE:  The Judge ruled in my favor, and ruled that Plaintiff Mark Golob must pay my attorney fees.  Read $35,000,000 Lawsuit Backfires on Health Club Franchisor]

Also read:

MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT : Overview, Updates, and Discussion

MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT: Does Mark Golob Have a History of Litigation in the Health Club Industry?

Help Support UnhappyFranchisee.Com & Sean Kelly’s Legal Defense:

Make a Contribution or Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com for other ways you can help!

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  PLEASE SHARE A COMMENT, OPINION OR WORD OF SUPPORT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com


TAGS: Mark Golob, Mark Golub lawsuit, Butterfly Life lawsuit, Unhappy Franchisee lawsuit, Nikolaus W. Reed, attorney Nikolaus Reed, Sean Kelly, SLAPP lawsuit, frivolous lawsuit, franchise lawsuit, Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, Anti-SLAPP, SLAPPback

MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT: Does Mark Golob Have a History of Litigation in the Health Club Industry?

February 24, 2014

Mark Golob, founder & former CEO of the failed franchise fitness chain Butterfly Life, is suing Sean Kelly, the founder of UnhappyFranchisee.com for $35,000,000.

Mr. Golob’s lawsuit, filed by San Francisco personal injury lawyer Nikolaus W. Reed,  states:

Sean Kelly and Does 1 to 10 posted defamatory statements on his website “unhappyfranchisee.com” which alleged that Plaintiff Mark Golob had a “checkered” past and a “history of litigation in the health club industry.”

…The statements tended to injure Plaintiff Mark Golob in his occupation and to expose him to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or shame and to discourage others from associating or dealing with him.

The statements are false…

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “Truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim.”

Let’s first take a look at whether Mark Golob has a history of litigation in the health club industry.

Does Mark Golob Have a History of Litigation in the Health Club Industry?

 What do you think?  Share a comment below.

1)  Wulf v. Women’s Workout World, et al February 1991

Back in 1991, Mark Golob was named in a job discrimination lawsuit filed in Chicago.  This appears to be litigation against Mark Golob, and it’s in the health club industry.

1:91-cv-00924 Wulf v. Women’s Workout World, et al

Date filed: 02/12/1991

Cause: 42:2000e Job Discrimination (Employment)

Plaintiff: Lisa Dewey Wulf

Defendants: Women’s Workout World, Inc., Audrey Sedita, Mark Golob

Source:  Pacer database

 

2)  Mark Golob’s Litigation With Actress Linda Evans (1998 – 1999)

Remember Linda Evans, who played Audra Barkley on The Big Valley and Krystle Carrington on Dynasty?

According to a July 29, 1999 story on SFGate, Golob was entangled in bitter “health club industry” litigation with the actress:

The former “Dynasty” star was the first to go to court last year, accusing two executives who run a string of women’s health clubs in the Bay Area bearing Evans’ name of breach of contract, among other allegations.

The executives, Mark Golob and Thomas Gergley, fired back with a $5 million lawsuit of their own this week that targets Evans and two companies that sell facial products in cable television infomercials.

The two men — who run 11 Linda Evans Fitness Clubs in the Bay Area — also accuse Evans of initiating litigation in an attempt to break a contract she signed in 1994 guaranteeing exclusive rights to her name…

Evans has made a host of accusations against the two men, claiming they improperly put their two wives on the company payroll while failing to pay her share of the business… a judge ordered Evans’ lawsuit transferred from Los Angeles to Contra Costa County. Any court action in both cases will be played out here.

Source:  Legal Mess Over Using Actress Linda Evans as Spokeswoman / Health club owners sue `Dynasty’ ex-star

Mark Golob3)  Mark Golob’s Legal “Ruckus” over Refusal to Refund Membership Fees (August, 2004)

In 2004, the Orange County District Attorney’s office investigated Mark Golob’s refusal to pay refunds to members of several Linda Evans Health Clubs that he closed.  Members were outraged when Golob said that his providing them with access to the coed  24 Hour Fitness club satisfied his obligation to provide membership to a comparable club.  Despite the positioning of Linda Evan’s as a women’s fitness club, Golob was quoted as saying “There’s no such thing as a women-only club.”

According to a July 23, 2004 Los Angeles Times story, the District Attorney threatened a civil lawsuit if the Mark Golob didn’t settle:

The Linda Evans chain’s actions violate the women’s contracts because female-only clubs aren’t comparable to clubs for men and women, the members say — and at a meeting Monday night, Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas agreed…

Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Joe D’Agostino said that after gathering as much information from as many gym members as possible, his office will contact the chain’s attorney. If the chain doesn’t settle, he said, the district attorney’s office will file a civil lawsuit.

Source:  D.A. Takes Case of O.C. Women Losing Their Fitness Centers

Linda Evans gym centers trim back

4)  Butterfly   Life.   Inc.   v   Susan   Kruse   and   Linda   Coogan  (September, 2005)

On September 9, 2005, when Mark Golob was CEO and President,   Butterfly Fitness. Inc.,  filed an amended claim for arbitration against the named franchisees for breach of contract pursuant to a November 5, 2003 Franchise  Agreement; breach of the  implied  covenant  of good  faith  and  fair  dealing;  misappropriation  of trade  secrets;  and interference with economic relationship. The franchisees filed a counter claim for fraud, intentional  misrepresentation, violation of the California Franchise Act, breach  of contract and  breach  of the duties of good  faith and fair dealing. On October  6, 2005,  the  parties entered  into  a  Settlement  Agreement. (American   Arbitration   Association,   Western   Case Management Center, Case No.: 74 114 00618 05).

Source:  Butterfly Life UFOC 2006

5)  Beth J. Shaw vs. Butterfly Fitness. Inc., (March, 2005)

On March 1, 2005, when Mark Golob was CEO and President, Ms. Shaw filed suit against Butterfly Fitness. Inc., alleging improper use of a person’s name or image in advertising or soliciting under California Civil Code Section 3344; appropriation of likeness; quasi  contract and breach of contract. The parties entered into a Settlement Agreement on November 1, 2005. (Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, Case No.: BC329592).

Source:  Butterfly Life UFOC 2006

6)  Beth J. Shaw et al v. Butterfly Life, Inc. class-action arbitration

According to Financial Trouble Plagues Some Health Club Franchisees in Health Club industry publication Club Industry, February 1, 2008:

Butterfly Life filed an arbitration last fall against one of its franchisees, Beth Tomei of Walnut Creek, CA, for terminating the franchise agreement in the company’s UFOC and changing the name of her club. Tomei and nine other franchisees then filed a class-action counterclaim against Butterfly Life on Jan. 10 in California through the American Arbitration Association.

Mario L. Herman, a Washington, DC-based class arbitration attorney who is representing Butterfly Life franchisees, says 250 franchisees are potential members in the counterclaim. Herman says Butterfly Life misrepresented itself by orally providing illegal earnings claims, such as stating that the break-even point for franchisees was 200 members and that franchisees would make a profit within their first six months of operation. None of the franchisees have made a profit in that time frame, Herman says.

“We believe that there was a standardized pitch that was provided to everyone before they purchased,” Herman says. “It’s fraud in the inducement of the agreement as opposed to any breach-of-contract, post-signature, post-execution agreement.”

According to Mark Golob’s attorney Scott Hammel, quoted in our March 15, 2009 post BUTTERFLY LIFE: Franchisees Lose Arbitration?, “The franchisees’ claims are being terminated and dismissed because they failed to pay their allocated share of the arbitration fees.”

7)  Eric Rosner and Susan Rosner v. Mark Golob, Thomas Gergeley, Lisa Bellini,  Suzan Zager, Taylor Golob and Jane Doe Golob    July 27, 2009

Case Number: 1:2009cv03730  Filed:  July 27, 2009  Court: New Jersey District Court

Source:  Eric Rosner and Susan Rosner v. Mark Golob, Thomas Gergeley, et al

8)  DONNA and MIKE  BARNHART, et al v. MARK GOLOB and SUSAN ZAGER, TAYLOR GOLOB, CARLY GOLOB, et al     January 22, 2009

CASE NO.  C 09-00120  THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT  Complaint filed:  January 22, 2009

SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA

Plaintiffs,

DONNA BARNHART and MIKE  BARNHART, individually and as wife and husband, and WOMEN’S HEALTH DEVELOPERS, INC., an Arkansas corporation; CHICFIT, INC., a Missouri company, MARY BAUER and JAMES BAUER JR., individually and as wife and husband; FITNESS CENTERS NW, INC., a Washington corporation, NW FITNESS CENTER NO. 1 Inc., DARWIN CHEVALIER and KEN UPTAIN, individually; TERRY CICHOCKI, an individual, and LIVIBETH, INC., a North Carolina corporation; KELLY DAVIDSON and ALI DAVIDSON, individually and as husband and wife, and KHRYSALIS ENTERPRISES,  INC., an Oregon corporation, and BFL, INCORPORATED, an Oregon corporation; THE DRISCOLL COMPANY, a North Carolina company, KAREN DRISCOLL and KEVIN DRISCOLL, individually and as wife and husband; JANEENE FITZGERALD, an individual, and the MONARCH GROUP LLC, a Colorado limited liability company; SETH GOODMAN, an individual, and FIRST FITNESS ONE, LLC, a limited liability company; LEE HARRELL, an individual; DEBBIE HARRELL, an individual; TODD HARRELL, an individual; SCOTT HARRELL, an individual, and EMERALD COAST WOMEN’S FITNESS, LLC, a Florida limited liability company: HENDERSON CONSULTING, LLC, a Colorado limited liability company. SUSIE HENDERSON and GEOFF HENDERSON, individually and as wife and husband;  HAESOOK KIM, an individual. and LIVING SOLUTIONS, INC., a California corporation;  CHERYL MERSCHEN, an individual; MARION NAPURANO and JOHN NAPURANO, individually and as wife and husband, and NAPURANO HEALTHY SOLUTIONS, INC., a Texas corporation;  HUBERT WASHINGTON and ROBIN  WASHINGTON, individually and as husband and wife, and STRETCH FORTH, L P. a Florida limited partnership,

v.
Defendants

THOMAS GERGLEY and LISA BELLINI,individually and as husband and wife; MARK GOLOB and SUSAN ZAGER, individually and as husband and wife; MARK MASTROV and MINDEE MASTROV. individually and as husband and wife; TAYLOR GOLOB and JANE DOE GOLOB, individually and as husband and wife; FLORA AUBE and JOHN DOE AUBE, individually and as husband and wife; JANET LOSSICK  and JOHN DOE LOSSICK, individually and as wife and husband; RON RANELLONE and JANE DOE RANELLONE, individually and as husband and wife; CHERYL HOKE and JOHN DOE HOKE, individually and as wife and husband; YOLANDA FAGEN and JOHN DOE FAGEN, individually and as husband and wife; PENNY CROOK  and JOHN  DOE CROOK, individually  and as husband and wife; CATHY GALLI and JOHN DOE GALLI individually and as wife and husband; CALLIE MILLER and JOHN DOE MILLER, individually and as wife and husband;  DENNY  MARSICO and JOHN DOE  MARSICO,  individually and as husband  and wife: CARLY GOLOB and JOHN DOE GOLOB, individually  and as husband and wife, and DOES  1 through 50.

Source: BARNHART, et al v. MARK GOLOB and SUSAN ZAGER, et al

9)  California Department of Corporations Desist & Refrain Order  (March 24, 2009)

California issued Mark Golob and Butterfly Fitness, Inc. a Desist & Refrain Order, stating that the company had violated a condition of its franchise regulations, and had willfully made an untrue statement of material fact in its franchise registration.  While the California Department of Corporations rescinded the order due to a jurisdictional issue related to the complainant, the DOC never cleared Butterfly Fitness of the violations.

Source:  Mark Golob CA Dept. of Corporations Desist & Refrain Order

 UPDATE:  Regarding Sean Kelly’s statement that Mark Golob has a “history of litigation,” California Superior Court Judge Henderson stated:

.. the allegation that Golob had a “history of litigation in the health club industry” is accurate. Truth of the statements made is a complete defense against liability for defamation…

Read the ruling here:  $35,000,000 Lawsuit Backfires on Health Club Franchisor

Also read:  MARK GOLOB LAWSUIT: Overview, Updates, and Discussion

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  IS ATTORNEY NIKOLAUS REED CORRECT THAT MARK GOLOB DOES NOT HAVE A HISTORY OF LITIGATION IN THE HEALTH CLUB INDUSTRY?  PLEASE SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Mark Golob, Mark Golub lawsuit, Butterfly Life lawsuit, Unhappy Franchisee lawsuit, Nikolaus W. Reed, Nikolaus Reed, Susan Zager, Taylor Golub, Carly Golob, Sean Kelly, Tom Gergeley, Lisa Bellini, SLAPP lawsuit, frivolous lawsuit, franchise lawsuit

CURVES Monty Sharma’s WTF? Email to Curves Franchisees about Jenny Craig Acquisition

November 8, 2013

Curves franchise owners are trying to figure out what impact their parent North Castle Partner’s acquisition of Jenny Craig will have on them.

UnhappyFranchisee.com posted news of the acquisition here:  CURVES Owner North Castle Partners Acquires Jenny Craig and the company press release here: CURVES: North Castle Partners Press Release on Jenny Craig Acquisition.

Curves CEO & President Monty Sharma sent this email to Curves franchisees sharing his excitement regarding the acquisition.

Curves franchisees are trying to figure out what the excitement is about.  Or what this even means.

Sharma makes seemingly contradictory statements that have left many scratching their heads.

First, he states “North Castle Partners also announced its plans to merge Jenny Craig and Curves International to create a one-of-a-kind wellness company that offers consumers an array of diet and fitness tools to meet their individual and varying preferred weight loss needs.”

So it sounds as if Curves franchisees will be able to offer Jenny Craig products and services in their clubs.

Than Sharma states:  “Our plans are to operate these two businesses separately and independently since they appeal to different consumer segments.”

WTF?

Hasn’t North Castle has been forcing Curves franchisees to implement a Curves weight loss program?

Does this mean that North Castle has just acquired a direct competitor of Curves?

Isn’t “Women who want to lose weight” a single – and the same – consumer segment?

If someone can make heads or tails of what’s happening here – and what it means to Curves International franchisees and Jenny Craig operators, please leave a comment below.

Email from Monty Sharma:

Dear Franchisee Partner,


I am excited to share with you that this morning North Castle Partners announced the acquisition of Jenny Craig from Nestle. Jenny Craig is a leading brand in weight management with centers across North America, Australia and New Zealand.


North Castle Partners also announced its plans to merge Jenny Craig and Curves International to create a one-of-a-kind wellness company that offers consumers an array of diet and fitness tools to meet their individual and varying preferred weight loss needs.


Our plans are to operate these two businesses separately and independently since they appeal to different consumer segments.  However, we believe there are many things the Curves system can benefit from over time through this merger. We will combine the companies [sic] back end operations to create best in class process and support to you our franchisee partner while looking for ways the two brands can benefit from each other.


Closing of the transaction is expected in a few weeks and thereafter we will begin the work of the merger. As the teams from Jenny Craig and Curves begins to work alongside each other we will keep you updated via the quarterly action group meetings.


I look forward to seeing you this week or next at the Regional Meetings to share with you all the exciting developments and new programs we are launching at Curves for 2014 and the years ahead.


Best regards,

Monty Sharma

Curves CEO and President

Also read:

CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee

CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story (1100+ comments)

JENNY CRAIG Consumer Complaints

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CURVES, NORTH CASTLE PARTNERS, OR JENNY CRAIG?

PLEASE SHARE YOUR OPINION BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Curves, Curves International, North Castle Partners, Jenny Craig, Monty Sharma, Curves buys Jenny Craig, Curves franchise, curves franchisees

CURVES: North Castle Partners Press Release on Jenny Craig Acquisition

November 8, 2013

Curves International parent North Castle Partners issued this press release regarding its acquisition of Jenny Craig diet chain.

UnhappyFranchisee.com posted news of the acquisition here:  CURVES Owner North Castle Partners Acquires Jenny Craig.

Curves franchisees are trying to assess how this will impact them and their businesses.

North Castle Partners has been requiring Curves franchisees to implement the Curves weight loss program.

This press release does little to clear up the confusion.

Has Curves just gained an ally and marketing partner in Jenny Craig, or a competitor with access to all of their information, plans and data?

North Castle Partners to Acquire Jenny Craig from Nestle

Jenny Craig to Be Combined with Curves International, Creating a One-of-a Kind Wellness Company Offering Consumers Array of Diet and Fitness Tools to Meet Individual Needs

Investment Extends North Castle’s Presence in the Weight Management Industry

Jenny Craig, Greenwich, CT – November 7, 2013

North Castle Partners today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Jenny Craig, an iconic brand in the weight loss industry, from Nestlé. North Castle is a leading private equity firm focused exclusively on Health, Wellness and Active Living companies. The terms of the investment, which is expected to close later this month, were not disclosed.

“We are very excited to bring Jenny Craig into the North Castle family and to continue its 30-year tradition of providing consumers with dedicated one-on-one coaching and great tasting, clinically proven food to support their weight loss goals. As a firm focused exclusively on consumer businesses that promote Health, Wellness, and Active Living, we were able to draw upon substantial experience from our current and prior investments in the weight loss, nutrition and fitness industries to evaluate the Jenny Craig opportunity and develop an investment plan that will revitalize the company,” said Chip Baird, North Castle’s Founder and Managing Partner.

North Castle will combine Jenny Craig with Curves International creating a one-of-a kind wellness company that offers consumers an array of diet and fitness tools to meet their individual needs. North Castle acquired Curves International in August 2012.

“The Jenny Craig and Curves brands will continue to operate independently and provide health, fitness and weight loss solutions to different consumer segments,” said Jon Canarick, North Castle Managing Director. “We believe the two brands give us a unique opportunity to meet the distinct needs of consumers and provide an unmatched consumer value proposition.”

Upon completion of the transaction, Monty Sharma, the current chief executive officer of Curves, will become President and CEO of the combined Jenny Craig and Curves business. “I am excited to partner with North Castle in combining these two iconic brands,” said Mr. Sharma. “When North Castle approached me about potentially integrating Curves with Jenny Craig, I immediately recognized that such a transaction would allow us to leverage the strengths and resources of each of these businesses to enhance the experience and results we provide to our members. Curves has made inroads into weight management with our Curves Complete program, but putting Curves together with Jenny Craig will bring our total business to a new level and allow us to offer consumers all of the tools they need. Jenny Craig has volumes of science and the best-trained coaches in the industry. I believe strongly in the importance of a one-on-one coach for consumers on a weight loss journey and that is something both brands offer today.”

In partnership with North Castle and Curves founders Gary and Diane Heavin, Mr. Sharma has been executing a plan to revitalize the Curves brand under the premise that Curves is uniquely positioned to offer both nutrition planning and strength training – the two most critical components to long-term weight loss success – under one roof. The revitalization of Curves is well underway in its first year with the company planning to launch many new consumer-based initiatives in the next few months. Among other things, Curves has taken great steps to enhance its core fitness offering and, in a separate announcement today, introduced a new partnership with Jillian Michaels, the celebrity fitness trainer and health and wellness expert. Ms. Michaels is designing group exercise programs to be done in the famous Curves circuit.

“We are very optimistic about the future of the combined company and will work in partnership with management to leverage our knowledge and network across the weight loss, nutrition and fitness industries from our current and prior investments in Atkins, Equinox, World Health Club, EAS and Naked Juice,” concluded Mr. Canarick.

ABOUT NORTH CASTLE PARTNERS

North Castle Partners is a leading private equity firm focused on investments in consumer-driven product and service businesses that promote Health, Wellness, and Active Living. North Castle is a hands-on, value-added investor in high-growth, middle market companies in the (i) beauty & personal care, (ii) consumer health, (iii) fitness, recreation & sports, (iv) home & leisure and (v) nutrition sectors, among others. North Castle’s current portfolio includes such well-known brands as Curves International, Palladio Beauty Group, Mineral Fusion, Red Door Spas, Performance Bicycles, World Health, Octane Fitness, Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Contigo, and Flatout Flatbreads.

Prior portfolio company holdings include Atkins Nutritionals, Cascade Helmets, Bora-Bora Organic Foods, gloProfessional, Equinox Fitness, EAS, Enzymatic Therapy, CRC Health Group, Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula, Naked Juice Company, and Avalon Organics / Alba Botanicals. North Castle and its operating executives and advisors partner with management to bring a wide range of strategic and operational capabilities, as well as an extensive knowledge base and network to build world-class companies. North Castle is headquartered in Greenwich, CT. For more information, visit www.northcastlepartners.com.

ABOUT JENNY CRAIG

Jenny Craig’s program is designed to help you manage your weight by creating a healthy relationship with food, building a fun, active lifestyle and developing a balanced approach to living. Our mantra is: Eat Well. Move More. Live Life.

Our model is like no other weight loss company out there. Jenny provides a weekly personal consultation that is tailored to you. We teach portion control, provide motivational techniques for stressful situations like social gatherings and dining out, and provide fun ways to incorporate daily activity. Jenny’s nutritionists work with food scientists to create more than 80 delicious Jenny’s Cuisine™ menu items. Jenny’s program is available in-center and our at-home program, Jenny Craig At Home for easy access, whenever, wherever!

Jenny Craig is one of the world’s largest weight management companies, with more than 600 company-owned and franchised centers in the United States, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. Jenny Craig is celebrating their 30th Birthday in 2013.

ABOUT CURVES

Curves International, Inc. is the largest chain of fitness centers for women in the world and is famous for its 30-minute Circuit with a Coach that works every major muscle group with strength training, cardio and stretching. With Curves Complete, women have a fully integrated, personalized weight loss and weight management solution that includes the Curves fitness program, a customizable meal plan and one-on-one coaching and support. Backed by extensive research, Curves Complete has been shown to reduce fat, increase lean muscle, boost metabolism and help dieters lose weight and maintain weight loss. Each Curves Complete Coach has completed a certification program developed in conjunction with Cleveland Clinic, one of the most respected hospitals in the country. Curves is committed to providing women with the tools necessary to empower them to live more fulfilling lives. For more information please visit curves.com.

Also read:

CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee

CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story (1100+ comments)

JENNY CRAIG Consumer Complaints

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CURVES, NORTH CASTLE PARTNERS, OR JENNY CRAIG?

PLEASE SHARE YOUR OPINION BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Curves, Curves International, North Castle Partners, Jenny Craig, Monty Sharma, Curves buys Jenny Craig, Curves franchise, curves franchisees

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