PINELLAS PARK -- Country music star Luke Combs took to social media Wednesday morning after finding out that one of his fans has been snared in a huge lawsuit against foreign factories accused of making "knock-off" merchandise with his name and likeness. Combs responded to a story from our TV partners News Channel 8 that aired Tuesday.
Nicol Harness runs an online shop called "Nicolioli's" where she sells tumblers and tee shirts. According to the News Channel 8 story, she suffers from congestive heart failure and is working to pay off medical bills. She created tumblers with Combs' name and likeness, which put her on the radar of the firm that polices Combs' trademarks. According to the complaint, filed by Combs' lawyers, their main focus is so-called "counterfeit dens" , mostly operating overseas, that have sold their products online. The complaint filed in Northern Illinois federal district court, says asking counterfeiters to take down their listings has been an "unavailing game of whack-a-mole". Nicolioli's was listed on a schedule of trade names, most of which appear to have ties to Asia in general and especially China in particular. A judge delivered judgment against Nicolioli's and other defendants November 15th. It's not clear whether Harness can get out of the $250,000 judgment imposed by the court on her own. The notice was sent by e-mail and went into her junk folder.
Combs said in his response Wednesday morning that his manager reached out to News Channel 8 and that he had spoken to Harness. "It makes me sick," Combs said, especially during the holidays. Combs says he has offered to double the money locked in Harness' Amazon account by the verdict. Combs also plans to sell his own tumbler, with proceeds going to Harness to help with her bills.
News Channel 8 reports that Combs plans to remove Harness from the lawsuit. Here's the latest story from News Channel 8 including Combs' response:
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