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Judge eases publishing restrictions on Nu Skin founder's ex

Published September 20, 2012 8:10 pm

Speech • Court had prohibited posting of online chapters of sensationalized book.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A state judge on Thursday modified his order restraining one of the ex-husbands of Nu Skin Enterprises founder Sandra Tillotson from posting information about her and her $60 million lawsuit against the Dutch model and actor.

The suit is one of two the wealthy Tillotson has against ex-husbands who have or plan to publish books about their marriages. The legal actions came after she apparently was ousted from the board of Provo-based Nu Skin, one of Utah's largest publicly traded companies.

Judge L.A. Dever agreed to modify his order during a hearing in which Tillotson's attorney sought to enforce the previous one against ex-husband Diederik Van Nederveen Meerkerk. Under the original order, Van Nederveen Meerkerk was prohibited from publishing his planned book, required to remove sample chapters from his website and forbidden from talking to the news media about his book or the legal dispute.

But Dever admitted his previous order was overly broad. That came after Van Nederveen Meerkerk's attorney, Mark Stubbs of Provo, filed a petition with the Utah Supreme Court to appeal the previous restrictions, which Stubbs argued violated free speech rights.

Dever said his new order would still prohibit Van Nederveen Meerkerk from posting material that might be defamatory under Utah law and from talking to the media about such matters.

But the judge said the ex-husband could talk about anything else, including his criticism of Nu Skin. Van Nederveen Meerkerk says the company operates in a way that almost all of the money that comes from selling personal care products to independent distributors ends up in the hands of a few people, many of them related to the founders.

"If he wants to talk about Nu Skin being a pyramid scheme or he thinks it's a big criminal enterprise, he's allowed to do that," Dever said.

Van Nederveen Meerkerk also can post chapters of his book or parts that do not contain anything that may be defamatory toward Tillotson, the judge said.

Tillotson sued her second ex-husband in March, claiming parts of his upcoming book, "Trophy Husband," that he posted online had defamed her and caused her to lose her seat on the Nu Skin board. She also alleges Van Nederveen Meerkerk was trying to extort money from her and that his contacts with Wall Street analysts led to a sharp decline in Nu Skin's share price, costing her $60 million.

Van Nederveen Meerkerk said he is angry with Tillotson for denying him access to their daughter, an allegation her attorneys deny.

Tillotson also has sued her third ex-husband, a former male stripper named Adam Baker, although like her other suits, the contents of it have been kept private by Dever at her request.

Baker had published an electronic book, "Formerly Filthy Rich: My Scandalous Life with a Billionaire Cougar," in which he makes sensational allegations about Tillotson.

The book has been withdrawn from sale by online sites as a result of efforts by Tillotson's attorneys.

tharvey@sltrib.com

Twitter: @TomHarveySltrib