A federal judge ruled that Chinese firm LF Products - the company producing furniture for Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Home line - will not have to pay the Fixer Upper star her requested fee of $150,000 an hour to appear in a deposition.
Her request to keep the case confidential was also rejected.
Gaines discovered that LF was using buffalo hide on Magnolia Home, a furniture line designed by Gaines and her husband Chip. Gaines is now requesting $150,000 per hour to sit in on a deposition in the ongoing lawsuit.
Gaines is not a plaintiff or a defendant in the lawsuit. LF Products subpoenaed Gaines to give a deposition due to the fact that the line of furniture being sold is part of her Magnolia Home line. Gaines had expressed that she did not want to get involved in the lawsuit and would only attend a deposition for a hefty price.
Gaines was asked to sit for a deposition twice, but she argued “that she has no relevant information because the suit turns on whether the shipped furniture conforms to the contract specifications” and “her deposition would be duplicative since she has no unique knowledge relevant to the case.”
LF Products, however, reminded the judge that Standard claimed in court that “[t]he Gaineses were to be and are heavily involved in the design and appearance of the furniture … and providing other specifications for the furniture” and alleged that “after Gaines received a shipment of the furniture, it ‘was immediately apparent to [her] that the product was substandard and unsaleable.'”
The judge agreed that Gaines has relevant information.
Standard Furniture alleges that LF Products and True Designs Inc. shipped $600,000-worth of Magnolia Home furniture line in unsalable quality. Standard Furniture filed the complaint November 23, 2016, against several China-based business entities that also operate in the U.S. -- including LF Products PE, Alton Irvine Inc., doing business as True Innovations; True Designs Inc.; and Does 1-10 -- which it says delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars in shoddy leather goods, which now sit, worthless, in a warehouse.
Samples of good quality examples of the furniture were culled for review by Standard Furniture, and it approved the shipment overall. In its complaint, which calls for a jury trial, Standard says the acceptable quality pieces represent less than 10 percent of the $650,000 shipment.
"This 'bait and switch' was discovered in an embarrassing and damaging manner for Standard and IFM when their licensing partner Joanna Gaines was shipped and opened a box containing the defective furniture," says the complaint. "It was immediately apparent to Ms. Gaines that the product was substandard and unsaleable."
Standard Furniture asked for restitution and the disgorgement of all earnings, profits, compensation, benefits and other ill-gotten gains obtained by defendants, the approximately $650,000 paid for the defective products and related freight and customs charges, as well as damages, including punitive damages, for "defendants’ tortious conduct, in an amount to be proven at trial, but believed to be in excess of $2 million."