When an overly litigious legal team went after a Florida craftswoman for $250,000 over selling $380 worth of merchandise, country star Luke Combs stepped in to make things right.
Combs went viral after he announced that not only was he calling off the legal dogs pursuing Nicol Harness — a congestive heart-failure sufferer who makes money selling homemade gifts on Amazon — but he was going to pay her twice the money that had been frozen by the lawsuit his team had filed, apparently unbeknownst to him.
The Pinellas Park woman, it said, is “a big Luke Combs fan, and says after she went to his concert in Tampa this summer she decided to start offering a Luke Combs-themed tumbler. She says she bought artwork online and sold 18 tumblers for $20 each, for a total of $380.
“Now, she’s learned Combs sued her in federal court in Illinois, along with various others, for selling counterfeit merchandise,” WFLA reported. “The worst part — the case is already closed, and the judge ordered each defendant, including Harness, to pay $250,000 to Combs.”
“It’s very stressful. I don’t have money to pay my bills,” Harness told the station.
“I just want this resolved. I didn’t mean any harm to Luke Combs. I quit selling the tumbler. I pulled it down. I just don’t understand.”
“I sent so many messages to Amazon asking for answers but couldn’t figure it out,” she added.
Harness told the station that an email that got put in her junk folder notified her of the lawsuit in October and gave her just 21 days to issue a response. She said it was an address she barely uses.
“Frankly, to find out that in Illinois they are now allowing email service, this may be the test case for why that shouldn’t happen,” attorney Matt Weidner told WFLA. “I certainly encourage her to communicate with the court and tell her side of the story.”
Combs — known for singles such as “Fast Car” and “Beautiful Crazy” — made that part of the equation unnecessary.
In a video posted to social media on Wednesday, he said the situation “makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.”
“I spent the last two hours trying to make this right,” Combs said in the clip. “Trying to figure out what’s going on, ’cause I was completely and utterly unaware of this.”
Combs noted that he does “have a company that goes after folks — only supposedly large corporations operating internationally — that make millions and millions dollars … making counterfeit T-shirts [and] things of that nature” using his name and image.
“And apparently this woman Nicol has somehow gotten wrapped into that, and that makes me absolutely sick to my stomach,” he continued.
The country star went on to say that he “was able to get Nicole’s phone number, I spoke to her this morning … talking to her, I just — it makes me sick, honestly, that this would happen, especially at the holidays.”
— Luke Combs 🎤 (@lukecombs) December 13, 2023
Given that there’s $5,500 frozen in her Amazon account, the first thing that Combs did to set about making things right was send her double the amount, $11,000, on Wednesday, he said, “just so she doesn’t have anything to worry about.”
What’s more, he announced that he’d be making his own tumbler for his merch store, with all of the money going to Harness to help pay her medical bills and expenses.
“She was never supposed to be involved in anything like this,” Combs said apologetically in the clip.
“This is not something that I would ever do. This is not the kind of person that I am.”
Social media users seemed to agree that he was a stand-up guy for his response.
I immediately knew this was something you wouldn’t do, great man. Thanks for helping her.
— iDeviceHelp (@iDeviceHelpus) December 13, 2023
The kindness you have shown to this lady is what this world needs to see right now. Thank you for standing up for a small business owner in this way. I hope you have great success with selling the mugs for her. Outstanding Job, @lukecombs, and Merry Christmas to both of you.
— Cheryl O’Neal (@CherylONealNC) December 13, 2023
Never doubted it. Luke is a good dude.
— Normal Vol Fan (@NormalVolFan) December 13, 2023
What isn’t clear is what will happen to the legal judgment. However, judging by what Combs is saying, he wants his team to forget it so he can move on to more important things — like getting Harness to another concert, apparently gratis.
“I invited Nicol and her family out to a show this year so I can give her a hug and say sorry in person,” he said in the video. “And yeah, I love you guys. I just wanted to clear that up because it makes me sick for anybody to be thinking I’m this kind of person.”
Granted, this wouldn’t have been a good look on any star, but few would have responded as personally and apologetically as Combs has. Good on him.
Our hats are off to you, Mr. Combs.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.