By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Actress Hilary Duff has filed suit against Irvine-based Naturalena Brands, alleging company officials used the pandemic as an excuse to wrongfully terminate an endorsement deal.

Hilary Duff speaks during #BlogHer20 Health at Rolling Greens Los Angeles on February 01, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images)

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The 33-year-old “Younger” star’s lawsuit alleges breach of written contract and misappropriation of the right of publicity. Duff is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the complaint filed Monday.

“This action is the result of [Naturalena’s] refusal to honor their contractual commitments under a celebrity endorsement agreement and associated  guarantee relating to Hilary Duff’s endorsement of [Naturalena’s] natural baby and feminine hygiene products,” the suit alleges.

According to the suit, Duff’s name, photograph, voice, signature and likeness have “enormous commercial value,” and companies regularly ask her to endorse their products to her “substantial following of fans around the world.”

The suit states representatives for the company entered into discussions with Duff’s team in late 2018 about possibly endorsing Naturalena’s Happy Little Campers and Veeda products. Both sides entered into a final endorsement agreement in October 2019, according to the suit.

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As part of the agreement, the suit states Duff attended photo shoots, news conferences and other events to promote Naturalena and its products. The suit also said she wrote blog posts, posted photographs and videos on her own social media accounts and allowed Naturalena to post photos and videos featuring her on its social media accounts, according to the suit.

However, the lawsuit alleges Naturalena “concocted a bogus claim of force majeure,” citing the ongoing pandemic, and claimed the endorsement agreement was terminated.

“In fact, various press reports indicate that Naturalena experienced an increase in demand for its products range during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the suit states.

According to the suit, Naturalena “apparently believed that their sales would be better than they turned out to be.” The lawsuit also states that despite allegedly refusing to pay Duff and claiming to have ended the endorsement deal, the company continued to use Duff’s name and likeness to promote its products.

City News Service could not immediately reach a representative for Naturalena Brands for comment.

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