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LEGAL ISSUES

Would You Challenge Taylor Lautner to Push-ups?
 

Twilight star Taylor Lautner is suing a California trailer company. The company's response: A PR stunt in the form of a push-up challenge.

Brent McMahon is hoping to settle Lautner's complaint through a push-up contest.


Newscom

Twilight star Taylor Lautner is suing McMahon for breach of contract and fraud.

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Thirty seconds into one of the insanely popular Twilight films (or a quick look at any Twilight poster) and you know that Taylor Lautner, a.k.a. Jacob Black and the guy whose pecs are usually on display, would win a match of muscle against a mere mortal.

But by challenging Lautner to a push-up contest, the owner of a trailer company just might come out the stronger man – or at least with stronger sales.

The saga began last month, when Lautner started legal proceedings against McMahon's RV of Irvine, California, after a dispute over a customized trailer.

Lautner, 18, was planning to use the custom-painted, upgraded vehicle on the Pittsburgh set of his latest flick, Abduction, this summer, but was unable to relax in his new $300,000 toy, as the dealership failed to deliver it by the June 21 deadline. When McMahon's RV finally did deliver it, Lautner and his company Shark Kid Entertainment claimed it was not safe to drive. (The RV company says Lautner paid the full purchase price, accepted delivery of the RV, and did not attempt to return it. The company denies any wrongdoing.)

So Lautner and his dad Dan, who negotiated the contract, sued McMahon's RV, claiming breach of contract and fraud—and that the late delivery caused him emotional distress, according to the Associated Press.

Brent McMahon, the 47-year-old owner of McMahon's RV, was not cowed. The former RV salesman turned entrepreneur (he started his company in 2000, after 14 years working in the field), flexed his PR muscles, challenging the Twilight star to a push-up contest to settle their differences.

McMahon – whose company website claims its "one of the only RV dealerships in the world that employs a dedicated Customer Satisfaction Department" -- said he'd hand over the damages if Lautner won, but would give the cash to charity if he lost. (Lautner's legal team had told McMahon they'd settle for $40,000, which is when McMahon suggested the push-up contest.)

Asked about McMahon's chances of beating the super-fit Lautner, McMahon's attorney joked: "He works out regularly, but he's a 47-year-old man. He's no Taylor Lautner."

Team Taylor, however, isn't giving him a chance. They've rejected the challenge, with lawyers insisting the move demonstrates the trailer company's "lack of professionalism."

"McMahon RV's response to our client's legitimate claim further demonstrates the lack of professionalism that Mr. McMahon, his company, and his employees have exhibited from the outset, and that compelled the filing of this lawsuit in the first place," Lautner's legal team said in a statement.

The team does, however, "welcome the opportunity for [McMahon] to resolve the matter by making a $40,000 donation to the charity of Mr. Lautner's choice."

So far, McMahon hasn't let Lautner's refusal get in the way of (possibly) doing well by doing good – he's said he'll donate $50 to the Children's Hospital of Orange County for every motorized RV sold until December 2011.

IMAGE: Newscom
Last updated: Sep 2, 2010

Inc. contributing editor COURTNEY RUBIN was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.




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