- An email provided to Insider by JLM Couture appears to refute wedding-dress designer Hayley Paige Gutman's claim that she didn't have a lawyer review her employment agreement with the company in 2011.
- The email JLM provided that appears to be from Gutman (the email address is redacted) purportedly said she had reviewed the contract with her attorney.
- Speaking of Gutman, JLM's representative told Insider that "JLM insisted she have a lawyer and she did have a lawyer for her first – and every – contract negotiation."
- In a recent video announcing her resignation from JLM, Gutman said she regretted not having an attorney review the 2011 contract, and that a legal battle to negotiate a new contract has been going on for a year and a half.
- A source close to the designer told Insider: "She told JLM a lawyer had reviewed the final contract because, at age 25 in 2011, she had never negotiated a contract before, the contract had already been signed anyways, and she was very excited to get started."
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An email provided to Insider by JLM Couture appears to refute wedding-dress designer Hayley Paige's claim that she didn't have a lawyer review her initial employment agreement with the fashion company in 2011. But the designer, whose full name is Hayley Paige Gutman, told Insider she signed the agreement without an attorney looking at it.
The contract is at the center of a legal battle between JLM — which owns Hayley Paige brands — and Gutman. JLM recently sued Gutman over her personal use of social-media accounts affiliated with her brands, including the Instagram account, @misshayleypaige, which has 1.1 million followers. A complaint filed on December 15, and reviewed by Insider, alleges that Gutman began using the account over the summer "as her own business platform as if she were an influencer."
Gutman made the legal dispute public when she announced her resignation from JLM in a December 21 Instagram video after the company was granted a temporary restraining order against her. In the video, which has been viewed over 2 million times, Gutman said JLM convinced a court to ban her temporarily from using her own name publicly and in a business context, and blocked her from using her main social-media accounts (she posted the video to another Instagram account, @allthatglittersonthegram). However, the complaint says JLM had the @misshayleypaige Instagram account, among other social-media pages for its Hayley Paige labels, created for business purposes and maintains that these belong to the company.
In her video, Gutman also said she didn't have a lawyer review her employment agreement with JLM in 2011, and that the legal battle to negotiate a new contract has been going on for a year and a half.
According to the complaint, when Gutman signed the agreement, she granted JLM "the exclusive world-wide right and license to use her name 'Hayley', 'Paige', 'Hayley Paige Gutman', 'Hayley Gutman', 'Hayley Paige', or any derivative thereof […] in connection with the design, manufacture, marketing and/or sale of bridal clothing, bridal accessories, and related bridal and wedding items."
However, an apparent email exchange provided to Insider by a JLM representative purportedly shows Gutman telling the company that she had a lawyer look over the initial contract on July 13, 2011 — the same day the agreement was signed, according to the complaint.
The first email from an unnamed person at JLM (the person's name is redacted) reads: "Attached is a signed contract. Hayley please confirm you have reviewed this with your attorney." Insider was unable to review the document that appears to be attached to the email.
Gutman — whose email address is redacted — appeared to respond: "Thank you for sending! I have reviewed with my attorney accordingly."
JLM's representative told Insider that Gutman is "misleading the public and her fans when she falsely claimed that she had no lawyer when she negotiated her first contract. Indeed, JLM insisted she have a lawyer and she did have a lawyer for her first – and every – contract negotiation."
Hayley Paige Gutman says her lawyer was 'non-existent'
Gutman maintains that she didn't have a lawyer look at the document, telling Insider that the email from JLM was sent after she had already signed her contract.
"Despite what JLM claims, I did not have an attorney when I signed my first agreement with them in 2011," Gutman told Insider, speaking of the contract she signed on July 13, 2011.
"JLM cannot and has not produced one email, one agreement draft, or one phone record with the attorney they claimed I have," Gutman said. "Instead, they rely on an email they sent after I had already signed the contract, checking to make sure that my non-existent lawyer had reviewed it, in my opinion because they realized the inequities it contained."
A source close to the designer told Insider that although Gutman told JLM she had a lawyer look over the contract, an attorney never actually reviewed it.
"She told JLM a lawyer had reviewed the final contract because, at age 25 in 2011, she had never negotiated a contract before, the contract had already been signed anyways, and she was very excited to get started with JLM," the source told Insider. "So she confirmed what they clearly wanted her to say."
JLM's representative declined to comment on Gutman's latest claims, or those from the source close to her, when reached by Insider.
Gutman and JLM Couture's legal issues stemmed from her personal use of social-media accounts affiliated with her brands, the complaint says
According to the complaint, issues started when Gutman created a TikTok account with the name "misshayleypaige" in November 2019, "and subsequently posted videos that did not properly represent the HP [Hayley Paige] brands."
The complaint alleges that when JLM's CEO "Joe Murphy advised Gutman that she should post JLM approved content on the Tik Tok account, rather than posting personal images, Gutman responded shortly thereafter by changing the password to the Main IG Account [@misshayleypaige] so that JLM no longer had access."
Gutman also changed the Instagram account bio to say it was a "Personal & Creative account" and "removed reference to JLM" sometime in late 2019 or early 2020, according to the lawsuit.
In July, the complaint says Gutman started sharing personal posts as well as posts touting "the goods of third parties, such as olive oil, beer and nutritional supplements, none of which were approved by JLM."
According to the complaint, Gutman had "been paid for these endorsements, and therefore has profited off the substantial investment made by JLM at JLM's expense." (The complaint says JLM spent millions of dollars on advertising that has helped its social-media accounts grow their follower count and engagement.)
Although the complaint says Gutman later restored links to JLM on the Instagram account following a meeting with Murphy in October, she later "removed these links and many hundreds of bridal related posts in a further act of exercising dominion and control over JLM's property" after a November 2 call with Murphy; during this call, the complaint says Murphy told Gutman the account belonged to JLM.
Later that month, Gutman refused "JLM's request to add JLM content" to the account, and "insisted that the Main IG Account is her personal account," the complaint says. "Gutman still refuses to return the Main IG Account to JLM, continues to delete JLM related posts on the account, continues to post off-brand content […] and refuses to post the bridal related content as required by JLM," it reads.
Gutman has also refused to give JLM access to the Pinterest and TikTok accounts under the misshayleypaige name, according to the complaint.
However, in a statement previously sent to Insider, a JLM representative said Gutman is not banned "from accessing the brand's social media accounts."
JLM also issued a public statement responding to this claim, among others made in Gutman's video, in an Instagram post on Wednesday.
"While we were shocked and heartbroken to see Hayley's video, we feel that the correct negotiations she referred to are a private matter between those parties – in this case between Hayley and Joe," the statement reads, referring to JLM's CEO Joe Murphy. "But in light of some of Hayley's comments in the video, we feel compelled to address a few points."
"First, it is documented that Hayley had a lawyer help her review her employment contracts. She consulted with her lawyer prior to signing the contracts," the statement reads. "There were multiple rounds of negotiations between Hayley and JLM until both parties settled on an agreement each felt was fair and mutually beneficial."
"Second, Hayley has access to the social media accounts and JLM encourages and would welcome Hayley to continue contributing content that is supportive of the Hayley Paige brands," it says.
The statement adds: "Third, we respectfully ask that you allow Hayley, Joe and their attorneys to discuss the details of negotiations privately."
Gutman responded to JLM's statement at the time, exclusively telling People: "It's unfortunate that JLM continues to make statements that are inaccurate and hurtful. JLM's statement that they 'encourage' me to post on the @misshayleypaige Instagram account is contradicted by the restraining order that JLM wrote and the Court ordered."
"That restraining order – which is public record – prohibits me from using my own personal Instagram account, including prohibiting me from making any posts, without the JLM CEO's written permission," Gutman continued.
Gutman previously told Insider she's undecided on her next steps
"I have made my position clear that my personal social media accounts should not be taken away and exploited by a corporate entity. I am grateful to my friends, fans, and followers for sticking with me through this ordeal, and I remain hopeful that JLM will do the right thing and return my social media accounts to me," she said.
Speaking to Insider for a previous article, Gutman said she's unsure of her next move, but feels "overwhelmed with gratitude" following the response to her video.
"I'm going to build a better castle," Gutman told us. "I know I want to continue to serve brides, and I will find a way to do that."
She later added: "I was just horrified that JLM was using my account to post their commercial content in my name, and not tell anyone what they were doing. Now, though, I feel surrounded by support. I feel like I have made a lot of new friends, and if I could stand in front of each of them, I would tell them how much I love and appreciate them."
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