Another salvo has been fired in the legal battle between a Lehigh Valley nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical company and a Northampton County couple who invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in it.
James and Jackie Chrin, of 268 Deemer Road, Williams Twp., are suing the owners of Pharma-Med, 1995 Highland Ave., Hanover Twp., Northampton Co. , Nebiyou and Menna Getahoun.
A week ago, the Chrins' attorney, Angelo M. Perrucci of Wilson Borough, Northampton Co., filed an amended complaint to the Chrins'
original civil suit alleging fraud, misappropriation of funds, theft and breach of contract that was filed about two months ago in Northampton County Court.
The Chrins claim that Nebiyou Getahoun became friends with them in March 2011 and over the next several months, invited them "as family"
to several social functions. The Chrins say in their amended complaint that this relationship led them to invest in Pharma-Med.
The amended complaint says that on April 4, 2011, the Chrins entered into "a memorandum of understanding" with the Getahouns to invest
$280,000 to further develop a "one-of-a-kind" aspirin tablet that would rack up sales of $6 million to $9 million in the first year and bring it to market in six to 12 months. The Chrins gave the Getahouns a check for $150,000, according to the amended complaint.
The following day, the Chrins, "without the advice of counsel," signed off on several changes in the memorandum proposed by Nebiyou Getahoun, the amended complaint says, including the deletion of a provision that would allow the Chrins to get all of their money back in seven days.
The amended complaint says that on June 3, 2011, the Chrins gave Pharma-Med another check, this time for $50,000, but by the end of the year, the deal started to sour, when the Chrins' demand for certain information went unanswered.
The amended complaint also mentions another business deal involving the Chrins and Nebiyou Getahoun that fell through -- duplicating and marketing two weight loss supplements sold under the Yasagata brand name. The Chrins gave Getahoun a check for $12,106 to develop his own version of the products for them on June 14, 2011, according to the amended complaint, and they want their money back.
The products mentioned in the amended complaint are Yasagata Slender Figure and Yasagata Super Thin. On the Yasagata Web site, a 30-tablet bottle of each product costs $60 ($45 on sale) while a 60-tablet bottle costs $90 ($80 on sale.)
In their amended complaint, the Chrins say that Getahoun fraudulently represented that he could duplicate Yasagata's products; misappropriated Yasagata's trade secrets, and used the $12,106 for his own purposes.
The Getahouns' attorney, Joel B. Weiner of Allentown, asked that the Chrins' suit be dismissed in preliminary objections he filed on Sept.
Weiner says that the agreement signed by the Chrins in April 2011 does not entitle them to a cash refund, only to participate in another Pharma-Med product, namely the attempt to duplicate the Yasagata products.
Weiner points out that Menna Getahoun is not an officer of Pharma-Med; that she didn't sign any of the agreements, and did not receive any of the Chrins' money. By naming her as a defendant, the Chrins are trying to "extort funds" from the Getahouns, Weiner says.
Nebiyou Getahoun should also be dismissed as a defendant, Weiner says, because the Chrin checks were made out only to Pharma-Med. There was no illegal conversion or theft because the money went to the corporation, not Getahoun personally, he says.
If the Chrins' suit is allowed to proceed, Weiner is asking that "scandalous and impertinent" statements be stricken from the Chrins'
suit, including the charges that Getahoun misappropriated Yasagata trade secrets and that he committed fraud.