Brent Kugler is a seasoned trial lawyer with more than 23 years of experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex business disputes. Brent is a prominent attorney in the direct selling industry with extensive experience in representing direct sales, multilevel (MLM) and network marketing companies in lawsuits, arbitrations and regulatory matters across the United States. Brent has also served as an expert witness in litigation involving MLM companies and his background and experience make him an excellent choice to serve as a mediator/arbitrator in direct sales/MLM legal disputes. Formerly the General Counsel for a large MLM company, Brent provides comprehensive legal representation to direct sales companies including advice on regulatory issues, distributor policies, and procedures, compensation plans, independent contractor classification, governmental affairs and risk management. Brent is also a frequent speaker and author on developments and trends in the direct sales industry and preparing companies for litigation.
Successful defense of $21.9 million claim brought by former distributor against direct sales skin-care company (December 2016). American Arbitration Association Case No. 01-15-0003-5801; Janet K. Bono v. Lemongrass Spa Products, LLC, Bryan Leist and Heidi Leist
$1.8 million defense victory for direct sales company. (May 2016). American Arbitration Association Case No. 01-15-0005-0993; Jose Gutierrez v. Seacret Direct, LLC
Successful defense of former direct sales representative in $3 million lawsuit brought by Texas-based direct sales company (affirmed by Dallas Court of Appeals in May 2014). Nerium International, LLC v. Sunny Kum Sun and Rium, LLC; 2014 WL 1789882 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2014)
Obtained take-nothing summary judgment in January 2014 for defendants in shareholder dispute over control of Texas-based direct sales company. Lance Barron v. Nigel Branson, David Lee Causey and Michele King; Cause No. 219-04220-2012; In the 219th District Court of Collin County, Texas
Successful prosecution of 202 proceedings, and lawsuits to obtain product seller information from online auction sites eBay, Inc., Amazon.com, LLC and Craigslist, Inc. In re: Arbonne International, LLC; Case No. DC-13-01529; In the 68th District Court of Dallas County, Texas; In re: AdvoCare International, L.P.; Cause No. DC-11-14858-H; in the 60th District Court of Dallas County, Texas; and In re: Mannatech, Incorporated, Case No. DC-14-00920, in the 298th District Court of Dallas County, Texas.
Obtained take-nothing summary judgment in June 2010 to defeat $2 million lawsuit against Texas-based direct sales company. A Dallas federal court dismissed the lawsuit based upon evidence showing that the plaintiff did not own the direct sales distributorship that was the basis of the lawsuit and evidence showing that the company had fully paid all commissions owed under the distributorship agreement to the plaintiff’s former spouse. Christina Sapp v. FirstFitness International, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:09-CV-1846-N, In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Successfully defended direct sales company in more than 40 product liability lawsuits throughout the U.S. involving claims of catastrophic injury arising from the consumption of nutritional supplements containing Phenylpropanolamine and Ephedra.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of direct sales company to defeat $3.4 million breach of contract claim arising out of manufacturing agreement. AdvoCare International L.P. v. Horizon Laboratories, Inc., Richard Paul Scheckenbach, R-Squared Nutrition, Inc. and Herbasia Corp., Civil Action No. 3:04-CV-1998, In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Investigated corruption in company’s supply chain that led to a federal court lawsuit in which a unanimous jury awarded company more than $11 million in damages against former formulator of company’s products. AdvoCare International L.P. v. Horizon Laboratories, Inc., Richard Paul Scheckenbach, R-Squared Nutrition, Inc. and Herbasia Corp., Civil Action No. 3:04-CV-1998, In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Representation of successful skincare company in transition from retail to direct sales business model.
Advice to start-up direct sales companies regarding consultant agreements, consultant policies and procedures and state registration requirements.
Advice and representation regarding independent contractor classification issues.
- Member, Business Litigation Section of the Dallas Bar Association
- Supplier Member, Direct Selling Association
- Juris Doctor, The University of Texas School of Law, 1991
- Bachelor of Business Administration, Southern Methodist University, 1987
- Salzburg College, Salzburg, Austria, 1986
- AV rated, Martindale-Hubbell
- Contract Drafting & Negotiation
- Corporate Entity Disputes
- Direct Selling/ Multi-Level Marketing
- Shareholder Disputes
- Business Opportunities
- Copyright Litigation
- Internet & Social Media
- Licensing & Technology Transfers
- Trade Secret Litigation
- Computer Fraud & Privacy Litigation
- Copyright Litigation
- Direct Sales/Multi-level Marketing Litigation
- Direct Sales/Multi-level Marketing Regulatory Actions
- Product Liability Litigation
- State & Federal Appeals
- Transfer Tax and Probate Litigation
- Trade Secret Litigation
- Independent Contractor Classification
- “Independent Contractor Status: Direct Selling’s Lynchpin Issue, and Where We Stand Among the Gig Economy Disruptors” – Direct Selling Association Fall Conference, November 2018, Washington DC.
- “Ending the Poaching Crisis”- Direct Selling Legal & Compliance Summit,January 2018, Austin, Texas
- “Fighting for Entepreneurs: Independent Contractor Update” – Direct Selling Legal & Compliance Summit, January 2017, Dallas, Texas.
- “Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst” – Direct Selling Legal & Compliance Summit, January 2017, Dallas, Texas.
- “General Counsel/Outside Counsel Forum”- DSA Business & Policy Conference, October 2016, Washington D.C.
- “Preserving Independent Contractor Status” – Direct Selling Association Global Strategies Summit , October 2015 Washington, D.C.
- Panelist, “Roundtable of Leading Legal Minds” – Direct Selling Association Global Strategies Summit, October 2015 Washington, D.C.
- “To Shred or Not to Shred” – Direct Selling Association Global Regulatory Conference, October 2014 Washington, D.C.
- “Under the Microscope – Preparing Your Company for Litigation” – Direct Selling Association, Global Regulatory Conference, October 2013 Washington, D.C.
- “Is Someone Soliciting Your Sales Force?” – The World of Direct Selling, June 2011
- “Hijinx or Hijacking – Is Someone Raiding Your Sales Force?” – Direct Selling Association Annual Meeting, June 2011 Miami, FL
- “FTC Testimonials Guidelines – What You Need To Know” – Direct Selling Association Coffee Break Series, February 2010.
- “He Said, She Said: Managing Product Claims” – Direct Selling Association, October 2008.
- State Bar of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas