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Joy Mangano’s Miracle Clean, HSN, tangled in $3 million lawsuit

As the lawsuit proceeds in Pinellas court, fans are wondering what happened to Mangano and her products since the HSN split.

A Boca Raton company that created cleaning products for Miracle Mop inventor and infomercial star Joy Mangano is suing HSN, saying the television shopping network owes it millions of dollars.

The Florida company, NatuReal, says in its lawsuit that it began creating the cleaning products in 2015. But shortly after they debuted on the shopping network in 2018, Mangano left HSN. Immediately after her departure, the $3.3 million deal NatuReal had with the network crumbled, according to the lawsuit.

Mangano founded Ingenious Designs, the HSN subsidiary that made the deal with NatuReal to create “Joy Mangano’s Miracle Clean." She was the face of the product, inspiring the movie Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence. But Mangano isn’t named as a defendant or as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. NatuReal’s attorneys say it was HSN and its parent company, Qurate Retail Group, that used their size and reach to take advantage of their client.

Related: Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, leaves HSN after 20 years

“The opportunity to do business with HSN, particularly once QVC and HSN merged into Qurate Retail Group, was the classic case of dangling the carrot in front of a horse,” said Christopher D. Cathey, an attorney representing NatuReal. “HSN and Qurate manipulated NatuReal into extending pricing advantages and obtaining inventory based upon promises of millions of dollars of orders that never came.”

A spokeswoman for Qurate said it does not comment on pending litigation.

The Miracle Clean that debuted in 2018 was and updated version of a former product. Joy Mangano's team wanted the new version to be plant and botanical based so it was free of any harsh chemicals. [Courtesy of HSN] [HSN]

The lawsuit was originally filed last year in Palm Beach County, where NatuReal is based. It was moved to Pinellas County circuit court late last month. HSN’s lawyers pushed for the case to be handled in Pinellas County because the shopping network’s offices are in St. Petersburg.

Miracle Clean’s line of 20 cleaning products launched in September of 2018. It was marketed as being made from plants and “without all the warnings and scary labels" seen with traditional surface cleaners.

Related: Lawsuit spells out tumultuous time during HSN and QVC merger

That November, Qurate decided to shutter the Ingenious Designs office in Long Island. It laid off its 66 employees. By December of 2018, Mangano left HSN.

NatuReal’s lawyers point to a written agreement with Ingenious Design that says the company would pay it $3.3 million to make Mangano’s line of cleaning products. The lawsuit says NatuReal only received about half the money. After the product launched on TV — sold live by Mangano on HSN — the lawsuit says Ingenious Design executives told NatuReal to be ready to increase production because of record sales that night.

Cathey says the company is owed more than $3 million because it purchased supplies to make more cleaner on Ingenious Designs’ instruction. Despite being told to make more, the lawsuit says HSN backed out of those additional orders.

“Our position in the lawsuit is that HSN used its power as a retail heavyweight to take advantage of a small Florida-based company,” Cathey said.

Miracle Clean is no longer available on HSN’s website. It is still being sold on Amazon from an array of third-party sellers.

While Mangano founded Ingenious Designs, she sold it to HSN in 1999. After that, she continued working as a face of the network, also selling other products like her “huggable hangers.” HSN now sells the hangers without Mangano’s name attached.

Court documents show that NatuReal’s attorneys wanted HSN and Ingenious Designs to provide documents about Mangano’s break from HSN. HSN’s attorneys responded by saying such documents would not be relevant and would invade the privacy of a “nonparty,” meaning Mangano.

Mangano’s personal website for the Joy brand no longer works. Her Facebook page still posts small personal updates, inspirational quotes, products, and book promotions, but doesn’t link to where users can buy Joy brand items.

Fans regularly leave comments asking for updates about Joy products, her company or the HSN split. Some of them speculate the former HSN queen’s silence could be because of a non-compete or nondisclosure contract. The Tampa Bay Times left a voicemail at the phone number listed on the Joy Facebook page and did not hear back.

Some posters complain they’re struggling to find the mop that made Mangano famous for sale now that it’s not on HSN’s website.

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