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Former Associates File Suit Against Univera: Dietary Supplement Company Accused of Intimidation, Bullying, and Unfair Trade Practices
Date:6/25/2009

DENVER, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- It's a lawsuit that may help determine "who owns who" in the world of multi-level marketing. According to John Terhune, one of the plaintiffs who filed suit in state court in Volusia County, Florida, today, "The last thing we wanted to do was get involved in litigation. All we wanted to do was build businesses and help others do the same."

Terhune, along with former Univera leaders Marshall Douglas and Joe Land, are former distributors of Univera who have joined together in a lawsuit alleging the company has bullied its associates with threats of litigation and economic ruin if their sales networks move to a competitor. The filing comes on the heels of two actions Univera filed against them in Seattle earlier this year.

Terhune and his fellow plaintiffs spent years building their multi-level marketing network into a thriving family business. As a distributor of Univera products, Terhune, Douglas, and Land managed a vast network of associates, many of whom they personally recruited. For several years all three enjoyed a great relationship with Washington state-based Univera, a company known for its popular dietary supplements. Univera recognized Terhune as its Associate of the Year in 2007 and bestowed the Yun Ho Lee Award, Univera's most prestigious leadership and sales award, on Terhune in 2008.

But in 2007, poor management decisions destroyed what had been a promising business opportunity. Univera sacked its flagship product, Ageless Xtra, and replaced it with a "fizzy" liquid supplement called Xperia. The new product, quickly developed a reputation for "exploding" in its packaging and arriving in "soaked boxes." During the same time, the company swapped out its computer platform with great fanfare. It turned out to be a disaster. The new internet applications failed and a flood of customer complaints soon overwhelmed the Univera system. Customers, associates, a
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SOURCE Baker Hostetler LLP
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