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Entertainment

Country singer Luke Combs drops $250k lawsuit against fan who sold merchandise – and sends her money instead | Ents & Arts News

today14/12/2023

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A US country singer has dropped a $250,000 (£200,000) lawsuit against a disabled woman who sold merchandise with his face on them, and will now fundraise for her.

Lawyers for Luke Combs, who recently topped the US country chart, went after companies selling unauthorised merchandise – but Florida woman Nicol Harness got caught up in the crackdown.

She had sold 18 tumblers she had made with his name and face for $20 (£16) each, making $360 (£280) in total.

The singer said he had told his lawyers to remove her from the lawsuit and said he was sending her $11,000 (£8650).

He also said in an Instagram video that he would start selling his own tumblers, with the proceeds going to pay Ms Harness’s medical bills – she has heart disease and recently needed hospital treatment.

He also said he would fly Ms Harness and her family to an upcoming concert so he could meet her.

Combs said his lawyers were only supposed to go after big companies, not fans who have a little business on the side. Most of the 45 other sellers sued appear to be large operations in Asia, court filings show.

Under US copyright law, sellers of unauthorised goods can be hit with stiff penalties and have their assets seized. They can also face criminal charges.

“This is not something that I would ever do. This is not the kind of person I am. I’m not greedy in any way, shape or form. Money is the last thing on my mind. I promise you guys that,” Combs said.

Ms Harness’s plight came to light on Tuesday after a story by Tampa TV station WFLA went viral.

She told the station the lawsuit was sent by email and went to her junk mail folder so she never saw it.

When Ms Harness didn’t respond as required within 30 days, the judge found her in default and ordered her to pay $250,000.

She discovered she had been sued when Amazon, obeying the judge’s order, froze the $5,500 she had in her account for possible seizure, meaning she couldn’t pay her bills.

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A big fan of the singer, Ms Harness started selling the Combs tumblers after going to one of his concerts.

“It’s very stressful,” Ms Harness told the station. “I didn’t mean any harm to Luke Combs. I quit selling the tumbler. I pulled it down. I just don’t understand… This is not something I meant to go wrong like this. I just want to get back to my day-to-day life.”

Combs said in his Instagram video that he first learnt of what had happened when he got up at 5am on Wednesday to go to the toilet and saw the story.

He got Ms Harness’s number through his manager and called her.

“I was so apologetic in talking with her. It just makes me sick, honestly, that this would happen, especially at the holidays. I can’t imagine being in her shoes,” Combs said.

Ms Harness said he was “a very nice guy, very understanding” when they spoke.

She told WFLA on Wednesday: “I still can’t believe he called me and he is doing these things for me.”



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Written by: lwrradio

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