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TruConnect Summary Judgment

Firm Wins Summary Judgment in Qui Tam Employment Claim

TruConnect Summary Judgment

The California employment defense attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP recently served as co-counsel with Greenberg Traurig to represent TruConnect in a retaliation and wrongful termination case. The firm secured a decisive victory in the case by persuading a U.S. District Court to grant a motion for summary judgment. This means that the workplace retaliation & wrongful termination claims were thrown out at the summary judgment stage without the need for oral argument.

The court’s decision can be read in its entirety here. To learn more about Tauler Smith’s victory in the qui tam employment claim, keep reading this blog.

Los Angeles Employment Attorney Robert Tauler Serves as Co-Counsel for TruConnect

TruConnect Communications, Inc. is a wireless and telecommunications company that provides cell phone service and mobile data plans in the United States, including a partnership with the federal government on the Lifeline Program that subsidizes low-income families with free wireless service. Los Angeles employment attorney Robert Tauler of Tauler Smith LLP worked with the lawyers at Greenberg Traurig to represent TruConnect at several different stages of a qui tam employment retaliation action.

The legal action began when two former employees of Sage Telecom, Inc. filed a qui tam whistleblower claim with the federal government after their positions at the company were eliminated due to significant market contractions. Attorney Robert Tauler was initially hired to defend two of TruConnect’s individual CEOs against the ex-employees’ allegations of qui tam whistleblower retaliation, and he successfully got that part of the case dismissed within a few months. Mr. Tauler was subsequently brought on as co-counsel in the larger employment action involving TruConnect, and now that case has also concluded with Mr. Tauler helping to win a court ruling on behalf of the telecom company.

District Court Grants Motion for Summary Judgment in California False Claims Act Case

The employment retaliation case was heard in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Despite having already lost their qui tam whistleblower claim involving TruConnect, the former employees still argued that they were entitled to damages for retaliation and wrongful termination. These claims were filed under three statutes:

  1. False Claims Act (alleging retaliation)
  2. California False Claims Act (alleging retaliation)
  3. California Labor Code (alleging wrongful termination)

On June 21, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Philip S. Gutierrez granted a motion for summary judgment that effectively ended the case by dismissing all of the plaintiffs’ claims of retaliation and wrongful termination. The court stated that TruConnect was entitled to judgment “as a matter of law,” which meant that there was no need to proceed to trial.

Los Angeles Litigator Robert Tauler Wins Cases for Clients in California State and Federal Courts

The TruConnect qui tam retaliation case represents another huge victory for Tauler Smith LLP. Attorney Robert Tauler and the other skilled members of the firm’s litigation team have earned the respect of their peers in the legal community, including judges, opposing attorneys, and legal experts. Whether it’s an employment matter, an intellectual property claim, or a business dispute, our lawyers always prepare every case with the expectation that it will go to trial. This gives us a significant advantage during the pre-trial stages, and it puts our clients in the best possible position to win.

Contact the California Employment Defense Attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP

The attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP have extensive experience handling California employment claims. We represent both plaintiffs and defendants, and our litigators know how to file successful motions for summary judgment in federal and state courts. If you are involved in litigation, the Tauler Smith LLP legal team can help you. Call 310-590-3927 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

OnlyFans Models Sue Unruly Agency

OnlyFans Models Sue Unruly Agency for Exploitation

OnlyFans Models Sue Unruly Agency

Two more OnlyFans models are suing Unruly Agency for exploitation. On the heels of Tauler Smith LLP lawsuits against Unruly Agency on behalf of exploited social media influencers, two more OnlyFans models have come forward with their own allegations of wildly improper and abusive conduct by Unruly. The models said that the big-name marketing agency has engaged in exploitative conduct that included pressuring them to pose for sexually explicit photos, posting nude images on their OnlyFans accounts without permission, and issuing threats when they attempted to exit their contracts.

To learn more about the shocking new allegations against Unruly Agency for exploiting influencers, keep reading.

Rolling Stone: Fitness Model Sarah Stage Sues Unruly Agency for Sexual Exploitation & Threats

Unruly Agency is one of the largest and most well-known agencies for social media influencers. The agency, which was founded by Tara “Elektra” Niknejad and Nicky Gathrite, represents clients that include Tana Mongeau and Harry Jowsey. With the recent surge in popularity for the OnlyFans platform, Unruly has become one of the go-to agencies for mainstream celebrities looking to break into what was once a taboo subscription-based model.

Sadly, many of Unruly’s clients have found that the agency’s behavior can be unsavory, manipulative, and illegal. A recent Rolling Stone article details how Sarah Stage and Jessica Quezada are the latest models to take legal action against Unruly and its affiliate agency Behave. Sarah Stage, a fitness model with a massive following on Instagram, has accused Unruly of using high-pressure tactics to try to convince her to post nude photographs against her wishes. Along those same lines, Quezada has accused Unruly of posting sexually explicit captions on her OnlyFans photos, as well as sending highly inappropriate messages containing sexually explicit content to her OnlyFans subscribers.

As detailed by Rolling Stone, Steele and Quezada also alleged in court documents that Unruly made direct threats when they tried to leave the agency. In fact, this is a theme running throughout most of the lawsuits filed against Unruly: the marketing agency is accused of threatening models who asked to get out of their contracts. In at least one instance, Unruly reportedly continued to operate the model’s OnlyFans account even after the contract was terminated – until she finally gained access and changed her passwords.

Tauler Smith LLP Represents OnlyFans Models in Lawsuits Against Unruly Agency

The recent charges that Unruly posted sexual images of the popular influencers and fitness models without their consent is in line with similar allegations brought by other models and online content creators against the social media management company. This includes documented abuses like engaging in sexually exploitative behavior, pressuring models into illegal contracts, and threatening the models with financially crippling legal action.

In a case filed last year by Tauler Smith LLP on behalf of an OnlyFans model identified only as “Jane Doe,” the model alleged that Unruly Agency surreptitiously took nude photographs of her and then posted them on her OnlyFans account as “revenge porn” retaliation. Jane Doe also said that Unruly unlawfully took control of her personal bank accounts and finances. Another model accused Unruly of posting a sexually explicit video to her OnlyFans page without her consent, as well as threatening and intimidating her when she expressed a desire to leave the agency.

Both models are being represented in OnlyFans lawsuits by L.A. social media litigator Robert Tauler. Mr. Tauler did not mince words when describing Unruly as “basically pimps” who take advantage of young, vulnerable women looking to earn an income as OnlyFans creators and social media influencers.

Contact the Los Angeles Social Media Litigators at Tauler Smith LLP

The new allegations against Unruly Agency would be shocking if they weren’t so commonplace: this is just the latest entry in a long list of known abuses by the marketing agency. If you are a model, lifestyle influencer, or other type of social media influencer who has been exploited by Unruly, you should speak with an attorney immediately.

Tauler Smith LLP is a California law firm that has experience with social media litigation. We help models get out of bad contracts with abusive agencies, and we also help them get the compensation they deserve. Call us at 310-590-3927 or fill out the online contact form to explore your legal options.

Rolling Stone Article on Unruly Agency Exploitation

Rolling Stone Article on Exploitation by Unruly Agency

Rolling Stone Article on Unruly Agency Exploitation

As the subscription-based platform OnlyFans has exploded in popularity over the past few years, so too has a cottage industry of management companies and agencies. One of the most well-known companies, Unruly Agency, is now facing new lawsuits from two influencers who allege that Unruly pressured them into posting sexually exploitative content and threatened them when they tried to leave the agency. In two separate filings, model and lifestyle influencers Sarah Stage and Jessica Quezada are accusing Unruly Agency of trapping them into exploitative contracts and posting nude and sexual photos without their consent.

[…]

In 2021, the Daily Beast reported that a former client identified only as Jane Doe was suing the agency, alleging that it had posted an NSFW video of her to her public page without her permission and that they had threatened her with legal action when she tried to leave the company. “These guys are basically pimps,” Jane Doe’s attorney Robert Tauler told the Daily Beast.

Read the full article on the Rolling Stone website.

PPE Fraud Lawyer

Tauler Smith Obtains Judgment for Fraud Against PPE Scam

The California business fraud lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP recently helped a client obtain a judgment for fraud against a PPE scam. After a two-day bench trial, a U.S. District Court granted 100% of the compensatory damages sought by plaintiff Solmark International in the case.

PPE Fraud Lawyer

L.A. Law Firm Tauler Smith LLP Secures Victory for Client in PPE Fraud Case

 

On February 4, 2022, federal judge Hon. Stanley Blumenfeld, Jr. for the United States District Court for the Central District of California entered Judgment for Fraud on behalf of Tauler Smith client Solmark International against PPE scammers.

Solmark International is a major supplier of personal protective equipment to companies in the United States. The defendants in the case were PPE scammers who had engaged in a scheme to sell non-existent PPE (personal protective equipment) to national distributors like Solmark. The PPE fraud scheme began with the defendants falsely representing that they had acquired millions of masks to service Solmark International’s clients who were looking to return to work more safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the defendants received a bank wire transfer for the PPE products, they effectively vanished. This resulted in a series of defaults from the defendants.

Solmark International then filed suit in 2020 with predecessor counsel, and the case was scheduled for trial in late-2021. Los Angeles law firm Tauler Smith LLP ultimately helped the plaintiff secure a favorable judgment and recover significant compensation.

Federal Court Issues Final Judgment in Favor of Solmark International

A final judgment was issued by United States District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, Jr. on February 4, 2022. The specifics of the federal court’s ruling were as follows:

  • Compensatory Damages: The defendants were ordered to pay plaintiff Solmark International the sum of approximately $100,000.
  • Counterclaims Dismissed: The defendants’ counterclaims against Solmark International were dismissed.

Attorney Robert Tauler Fights for Victims of Business Fraud in California

“I am very pleased our team was able to obtain a fraud judgment against dishonest people who thought only about themselves at the expense of others during such a sensitive time in our history,” said L.A. business fraud attorney Robert Tauler. “I am fortunate to have clients like Solmark International that believe justice is worth fighting for.”

Tauler Smith LLP is a law firm with a history of success in California business fraud cases. Our experienced litigators have successfully represented clients in business disputes and fraud matters in both local California courts and federal courts. We understand the nuances of this complicated area of the law, and we have the institutional expertise needed to guide you through the legal system and get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact the Los Angeles Business Fraud Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP

If you were a victim of business fraud, corporate fraud, or consumer fraud, the litigators at Tauler Smith LLP can help you. Call 310-590-3927 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

BuzzFeed Article on Unruly Agency Intimidation

BuzzFeed Article on Unruly Agency Intimidation

BuzzFeed Article on Unruly Agency Intimidation

BuzzFeed recently published an explosive article that provides information about the many allegations of unethical and illegal behavior by Los Angeles-based Unruly Agency. The talent agency has been accused of numerous transgressions: using deception to convince content creators to sign with Unruly, later threatening to sue clients for supposed contract breaches, taking control of clients’ personal bank accounts, and leaking nude photos of clients. All of this has left content creators who sign with Unruly feeling powerless and trapped.

BuzzFeed: Unruly Agency and Behave Agency Accused of Exploiting Online Content Creators

Unruly Agency is a major content marketing agency that represents a number of different influencers on OnlyFans and other social media platforms. Unruly also runs the Behave Agency, another online content management company with operations in Los Angeles. A large part of what Unruly and Behave do involves the day-to-day management of OnlyFans accounts belonging to content creators. This includes selling online content such as videos and photos, publicizing the creators’ work, and responding to messages sent by fans.

Given the staggering rise in the number of subscription-only platforms on the internet in the past few years, the market for online content creators has never been more competitive. Unruly has been able to capitalize on this by positioning itself as a reputable, reliable agency that is passionate about serving its clients. In fact, one of Unruly’s main selling points is that they can help content creators grow their brand by allowing them to reach a larger audience, which will translate into more followers and increased revenue.

For its story on Unruly, BuzzFeed News interviewed no fewer than 18 people and reviewed various documents reportedly showing that the talent agency was often misleading both clients and workers when it came to the details of contracts that were signed. At least two models who signed with Unruly said that company officials waived off their concerns about contract provisions by claiming that they were merely formalities. When the models attempted to get out of the contracts, however, those provisions were suddenly binding.

OnlyFans Models Hire Tauler Smith LLP for Legal Action Against Unruly Agency

Two former clients of Unruly recently enlisted the legal team at Tauler Smith LLP to represent them in civil suits against the talent agency. Both clients are young models whose lives were nearly ruined by Unruly. L.A. social media litigator Robert Tauler filed suit on behalf of the women in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeking damages and injunctive relief.

Tauler called the typical Unruly contract “a Frankenstein of the worst provisions I’ve seen put together in one contract.” He said the contract is clearly unlawful, and that its main purpose appears to be to manipulate and gain leverage over the young women who make the mistake of signing with Unruly Agency.

Generally speaking, Unruly’s contracts are exploitative and grant the talent agency an unreasonable amount of control over clients’ personal lives. For example, several clients were locked into contracts with automatic renewal provisions. These legally questionable provisions basically forced the models to stay with the agency for at least three (3) years. Additionally, at least one contract used by Behave Agency gave the company authority to take out a life insurance policy on a client, as well as requiring the client to share private medical information with the agency.

OnlyFans Creators Say They Were Victims of Intimidation & Threats by Unruly Agency

One theme that runs throughout the many allegations made against Unruly Agency in the BuzzFeed article is that the company bullies and scares young female models, influencers, and online celebrities. Amia Miley, a former client of Unruly/Behave, said that many of the girls who sign with the agency are worried about retaliation, so they simply don’t say anything.

One OnlyFans model who did speak up said that the company pressured her to publish sexually explicit content on the internet even after she made it clear that she was not comfortable doing so. Remarkably, Unruly and its founders, Tara Niknejad and Nicky Gathrite, actually promote the agency as a strong advocate for female empowerment and women’s rights.

The young models interviewed by BuzzFeed News made several allegations of improper behavior and illegal conduct by Unruly Agency, including the following:

  • Unruly uses deceptive recruitment practices. One of the allegations against Unruly is that the talent agency uses misleading tactics and high-pressure sales pitches to convince content creators to sign long-term contracts.
  • The contracts signed by clients are unclear. The contracts that some clients signed allegedly included terms that conflicted with the terms discussed during contract negotiations with Unruly agents. For example, clients have reported specific details missing from the written contracts after Unruly had explicitly agreed to those details in conversations.
  • Unruly uses the threat of costly lawsuits to intimidate clients. Once an OnlyFans creator signs with Unruly, they are locked into what some are calling an exploitative contract. If the client later wants to opt out of the contract and leave the agency, they are reportedly threatened with a six-figure lawsuit that could cause financial ruin.
  • Unruly publishes nude images without consent. At least one OnlyFans model has accused Unruly of secretly taking nude photographs of her while she was changing clothes during a photo shoot. Moreover, the model says that the agency later released those nude images on social media without her knowledge or consent.
  • Unruly takes control of clients’ personal bank accounts. Multiple models said that Unruly switched out the banking information on their OnlyFans accounts, essentially replacing the client bank account with the agency’s bank account. As a result, Unruly initially gets all of the income generated on OnlyFans, and then the clients are entirely dependent on the talent agency to pay out any money earned. Additionally, at least one client said that the agency was repeatedly late when it came to making payments.

Unruly Agency Also Accused of Exploiting Workers and Committing Wage Theft

According to the BuzzFeed investigation of Unruly Agency’s business practices, the company’s exploitative tactics are not limited to just clients. A number of current and former workers for Unruly have accused the agency of violating California employment laws by misclassifying the employees as independent contractors so that they could illegally underpay them. At least six (6) workers are reportedly planning to file lawsuits against Unruly for wage theft.

Contact Los Angeles Social Media Lawyer Robert Tauler

Although the BuzzFeed article focuses on alleged abuses of power and unlawful conduct by Unruly Agency, it also serves to highlight a broader problem among many talent agencies in California that routinely take advantage of OnlyFans creators, Instagram models, and other social media influencers. If you are a content creator or influencer who has been exploited by a talent agency, Los Angeles social media litigator Robert Tauler and the Tauler Smith LLP legal team can help you. Call 310-590-3927 or submit the contact form.

BuzzFeed

Unruly Agency Accused of Exploiting OnlyFans Creators

BuzzFeed

A growing chorus of clients and current and former workers at the social media management company Unruly say the agency has engaged in deceptive recruitment practices that locked them into agreements threatening six-figure penalties for contract breaches and handing over expansive control of their personal lives, while demanding work they hadn’t realized they’d signed up for and, in some cases, publishing nude images of them without their consent.

Read the full article on BuzzFeed.

Unruly Agency Revenge Porn Lawsuit

Tauler Smith LLP Files Revenge Porn Lawsuit Against Unruly Agency

Unruly Agency Revenge Porn Lawsuit

Los Angeles-based law firm Tauler Smith LLP recently filed a revenge porn lawsuit on behalf of a well-known swimsuit model who is accusing Unruly Agency of distributing a nude photograph of her on the internet. The model is suing the marketing firm for explicitly violating the terms of their business agreement, damaging her burgeoning modeling career, and causing her to suffer severe emotional distress.

Unruly Agency Accused of Violating California “Revenge Porn” Laws

The model bringing the lawsuit is being identified as Jane Doe to ensure her privacy. She says that Unruly Agency violated California laws against “revenge porn” by publishing a topless photo of her on the popular social media platform OnlyFans. Unruly had complete control over the model’s OnlyFans account because they were supposed to be bolstering her status as a social media influencer.

After Jane Doe terminated her business relationship with Unruly Agency for an unrelated reason, the agency allegedly retaliated by posting the illicit photograph on OnlyFans. Unruly did this despite clear instructions from the model that she did not want any nude images published online. Moreover, the swimsuit model was not even aware at the time that Unruly was in possession of the nude photograph – she believes the social media company must have secretly taken the photo during a private photo shoot that they arranged.

Los Angeles Attorney Robert Tauler Represents Swimsuit Model in Revenge Porn Civil Action Against Unruly Agency

Attorney Robert Tauler, one of the co-founders of L.A. law firm Tauler Smith LLP, is representing Jane Doe in her civil action against Unruly Agency. Tauler filed a legal complaint with the Los Angeles County Superior Court on August 23, 2021.

The main cause of action in the lawsuit is Unruly’s alleged violation of the California revenge porn statute, which makes it illegal for anyone to intentionally distribute a photograph, film, video, or any other type of recording of another person when:

  1. The person distributing the photo or film knew that the victim had a reasonable expectation that the material would be kept private.
  2. The photo or film exposes an intimate body part of the victim, or it shows the victim engaging in a sexual act.
  3. The victim suffered damages as a result of the distribution of the explicit material.

The lawsuit filed by Tauler Smith LLP against Unruly seeks both monetary damages and punitive damages because Jane Doe suffered significant harm to her career, her reputation, and her mental and emotional wellbeing as a result of Unruly’s alleged actions. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks an injunction that would compel Unruly to take down the nude photo and stop circulating it on the internet.

Unruly Agency Accused of Exploiting Other Models & Social Media Influencers on OnlyFans

This is not the only serious allegation of wrongdoing that has been brought against Unruly Agency. Another OnlyFans model and social media influencer is currently suing Unruly Agency for allegedly exploiting her. According to that model, Unruly took complete control of her bank accounts, leaked sexually explicit images of her online and without her consent, and threatened her with “humiliation and financial ruin” if she ever tried to leave the agency.

Contact the Los Angeles OnlyFans Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP

Are you a model or social media influencer who has been victimized by Unruly Agency or any other talent agency? The Los Angeles social media attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP can help you. Call 310-590-3927 or fill out the contact form to schedule a consultation.

Business Insider

OnlyFans Model Sues Unruly Agency for Revenge Porn

Business Insider

An OnlyFans model is suing Unruly Agency, a company that manages social-media accounts for influencers, alleging it took and distributed nude photographs of her without her permission.

The suit was filed Monday and claims the model, identified by the pseudonym Jane Doe, had “made clear to Unruly on multiple occasions” that she was “not comfortable with the publication of nude images due to her career plans after modeling.” It alleges that Unruly “covertly took nude photographs” while she was changing at a photo shoot.

The model also claims that when she tried to end her business relationship with Unruly, for an unrelated reason, the company published a nude photo of her on the subscription-content platform OnlyFans, “likely” in an act of “retaliation” which, she claims, constitutes “revenge porn,” under a California statute.

Read the full article on Business Insider.

Daily Beast Article on Unruly Agency Lawsuit

Daily Beast Article on Lawsuit Against Unruly Agency

Daily Beast Article on Unruly Agency Lawsuit

A recent Daily Beast article details a lawsuit filed by Tauler Smith LLP against Unruly Agency. The article provides significant background on the legal action, including allegations that the social media marketing agency negligently leaked nude videos and photos of one of its clients.

The Daily Beast Publishes Article on Tauler Smith LLP Lawsuit Against Unruly

The Daily Beast article offers a good introduction to the dangers posed by talent agencies like Unruly that take advantage of social media influencers. These agencies often promote themselves as being committed to “female empowerment,” and many aspiring models buy into that marketing slogan – only to later find their lives ruined.

Unruly Agency is a well-known talent agency that represents several prominent influencers on social media platforms like OnlyFans and Instagram. One of those clients, identified in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe,” recently enlisted L.A. social media litigation attorney Robert Tauler to file suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Doe is a 21-year-old model who initially hired Unruly to help build her social media presence before realizing that the agency was actually causing irreparable harm to her brand.

Disturbing Allegations in Legal Action Involving Social Media Talent Agencies Unruly and Behave

Jane Doe’s lawsuit alleges that both Unruly Agency and Behave Agency (a spin-off agency for smaller influencers) use shady business practices to take advantage of young models and online influencers looking for assistance with marketing and reaching their fans through subscription-only services such as OnlyFans.

The following are just a few of the illegal actions that Unruly Agency has been accused of in the Jane Doe lawsuit:

  • Posting an illicit video of the model to the public section on her OnlyFans page. The nude video was later leaked all over the internet.
  • Posting a “private” photograph of the model on someone else’s OnlyFans account.
  • Changing the model’s online payment information and rerouting OnlyFans income from her bank account to the agency’s bank accounts.
  • Threatening to ruin the model financially when she attempted to leave the agency.

Doe’s attorney, Robert Tauler, said that the people running Unruly and Behave “are basically pimps” who try to squeeze as much money as possible out of social media influencers. Tauler noted that in his client’s case, Unruly Agency even included a provision that allowed the company to take out a life insurance policy on the young model – something that Tauler had never encountered before in his legal career.

Despite the obvious allure of hiring a high-profile agency like Unruly, doing so could ultimately be harmful to a social media influencer’s career, financial bottom line, and emotional wellbeing. That’s one reason why it can be highly beneficial to consult with a qualified social media lawyer before signing any contract with an agency.

Contact the Los Angeles Social Media Litigators at Tauler Smith LLP

Tauler Smith LLP is a Los Angeles law firm that represents clients nationwide in social media litigation, business fraud disputes, and intellectual property matters. If you are a social media influencer who has been victimized by a talent agency, our experienced attorneys may be able to help you. Call 310-590-3927 or submit the firm’s contact form.

Daily Beast

Model Accuses Unruly Agency of Exposing Nudes & Threats

Daily Beast

Unruly Agency reps some of the biggest influencers on Instagram and OnlyFans. But content creators are warning others to stay far away, and one model is suing the agency.

With the likes of influencer Tana Mongeau, YouTuber Daisy Keech, Too Hot to Handle cast member turned TikTok provocateur Harry Jowsey, the Clermont Twins, and dozens of other social media stars and models on its roster, the Unruly Agency seems to be the place that could take an influencer’s brand to new heights.

But clients and contractors who worked with Unruly and Behave Agency—Unruly’s spinoff for smaller influencers—are warning others against signing with either of the firms, citing sketchy business practices and a ruthless cash-grab attitude.

Read the full article on The Daily Beast.