LOS ANGELES - Hilary Duff reached a settlement of her lawsuit against Irvine-based Naturalena Brands in which she alleged company officials used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to claim a deal signed in 2019 for the actress to promote environmentally friendly diapers and feminine care products was over when in reality they were unhappy with the sales numbers.
Lawyers for the 34-year-old "Cheaper by the Dozen" star filed court papers on April 8 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lia Martin stating that the case was resolved. No terms were revealed.
The lawsuit was brought last July 19 and alleged breach of a written contract and misappropriation of the right of publicity. She sought more than $1 million.
The suit's pleadings were extensively blacked out. The judge granted time extensions to Naturalena to respond to the complaint in order for settlement discussions to proceed.
"This action is the result of (Naturalena's) refusal to honor their contractual commitments under a celebrity endorsement agreement and associated guarantee relating to Hilary Duff's endorsement of (Naturalena's) natural baby and feminine hygiene products," the suit alleged.
Duff's name, photograph, voice, signature and likeness have "enormous commercial value" and companies regularly ask her to endorse their products to her "substantial following of fans around the world," according to her court papers.
In late 2018, Naturalena's representatives began discussions with Duff's team about the actress possibly endorsing Naturalena's Happy Little Campers and Veeda products, the suit stated. The two sides entered a final endorsement agreement in October 2019, according to the plaintiff.
Duff attended photo shoots, news conferences and other events to promote Naturalena and its products, the suit stated. She also authored blog posts, posted photographs and videos on her social media accounts and allowed Naturalena to post photo and videos featuring her on its own social media channels, according to the lawsuit.
Naturalena performed under the endorsement agreement for a time, but in an attempt to "avoid their clear contractual" obligations to Duff, the company "concocted a bogus claim of force majeure" -- unforeseeable circumstances -- by claiming last June that the deal was ended due to the coronavirus, the suit alleged.
"In fact, various press reports indicate that Naturalena experienced an increase in demand for its products range during the COVID-19 pandemic," the suit stated.
Naturalena "apparently believed that their sales would be better than they turned out to be," but that was the risk the company took in entering the agreement, according to Duff's court papers.
Despite allegedly refusing to pay Duff what she is owed and claiming to have ended the endorsement deal, Naturalena is still using her name and likeness to promote the products, according to the lawsuit.
Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.