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Former “Say Yes To The Dress” designer Hayley Paige Gutman is fighting back after being banned from legally using her own name — and even from drawing doodles on social media.
The fashion maven applied for an emergency appeal on Friday after her former company, JLM Couture successfully filed a motion to have her held in civil contempt of court for saying that she was going to announce a new name and drawing on an Instagram video.
“One of the more absurd accusations JLM is now making against me is that I cannot even draw,” she wrote in a new court filing, adding that she has taken her illustrations down online.
“Since I can remember, I have been very artistic and creative. Drawing specifically has always been a way for me to express myself. Drawing is also something I do for pleasure and to relieve stress. While fashion tends to be my favorite subject matter, I also like to draw still life, florals, animations, and I have even illustrated several published books.”
As Page Six has reported, Gutman, 29, is in the middle of a fierce legal battle with JLM, which legally owns the rights to her name, after insisting that she was driven to resign over what she claims was a toxic work environment.
She has already been legally bound to give up her social media accounts and anything associated with her name — and in a new appeal filed in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Gutman alleged that she had only been able to earn $16,000 over the past seven months and has been left close to bankruptcy.
In the appeal, seen by Page Six, Gutman said: “Ever since JLM sued me and obtained a broad PI Order against me, JLM has taken every opportunity to harass and intimidate me—this contempt motion is another example of that.
“It is not enough for JLM that I cannot work and cannot use my own birth name. Now, JLM wants to strip everything from me — including my right to speak and draw. JLM wants to silence me in the public domain and financially drain me. That is neither right nor just. I have gone to great lengths to comply with the PI Order and I request that the Court recognize my efforts and reject JLM’s motion.”
She added that she has been unable to “maintain any employment,” largely due to her non-compete order, but also the inability to use her own name for non-competitive ventures. She won’t be able to design again until August 2022.
“I have also lost opportunities to appear on national television networks and in commercial appearances due to my inability to use my own name,” she said in the filing.
She claimed that she is now happy and willing to even change her name and start a new brand until she can re-enter the bridal and eveningwear industry again.
“JLM’s accusations that I am ‘designing’ and ‘marketing’ a competitive bridal brand are absurd and untrue. I have not launched a competitive bridal brand. I am not designing or sharing designs of competitive products. I am not marketing competitive products. I am also not poaching JLM’s business nor discouraging women from finding the dress of their dreams during this time, even if it is a JLM dress — in fact, I have encouraged it,” she stated.
She said that she is now left fearing that she will be made bankrupt due to soaring legal fees.
“I have expended nearly all of my life savings defending myself in this lawsuit,” she wrote in court papers. It is inhumane and absurd that JLM even suggests that I have the financial capacity to afford a substantial sanction, let alone one in the amount JLM requests. I do not.
“A sanction of any significant size will deplete the little savings I have left, rendering me defenseless in this lawsuit, and potentially bankrupting me. Indeed, this financial strain has already forced me to sell my New York apartment at a loss because I can no longer afford it.”
JLM sources insisted that Gutman is, in fact, allowed to use her name personally and said she is “misrepresenting” the initial court orders.
A JLM spokesperson told Page Six: “The District Court Judge, having heard all the testimony and reviewed all the evidence, has rejected Hayley Paige Gutman’s arguments opposing the Preliminary Injunction Order three times.
“In the June 2, 2021, order, the District Court also denied Ms. Gutman’s prior request for a stay finding that Gutman had not demonstrated it was necessary or appropriate. Ms. Gutman’s belated attempt to seek a stay from the Second Circuit after being found in willful contempt is clearly a bad faith attempt to once again avoid the consequences of her actions. Ms. Gutman’s motion flagrantly misrepresents the record in this case and the basis for the District Court’s findings, and JLM strongly believes it will fail.”
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