HUNTINGTON – A former Minnesota resident is suing Lava Nails & Spa after she claims its owner has been wrongfully operating the nail salon since January.

Thanh Binh Nguyen was also named as a defendant in the suit.

In September 2014, Thanh Nguyen encouraged his sister, Kim Nguyen, to relocate to Huntington and to open a nail salon, according to a complaint filed Sept. 2 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Kim Nguyen claims her brother offered to assist her in opening the salon and, due to her very limited ability to speak English, relied on her brother, who reads and speaks English proficiently, to organize and set up the business.

The plaintiff and Thanh Nguyen agreed that Kim Nguyen would be the sole member of the anticipated limited liability company, and that Thanh Nguyen would be employed at the salon and receive a share of the profits, according to the suit.

Kim Nguyen claims the salon was opened on May 9, 2015, and that sometime thereafter, she discovered that Thanh Nguyen and his girlfriend, Cam Tu Bien, had been taking money from the salon without her knowledge or permission.

On Jan. 18, Thanh Nguyen fired employees at the nail salon so that he could receive more money from the business and when Kim Nguyen objected, he became violent, threatening, berating and otherwise intimidating her and forcing her to leave the nail salon, according to the suit.

Kim Nguyen claims she then learned that Thanh Nguyen had named himself as the sole member of the organization, thereby wrongfully excluding her from her ownership of the LLC.

Kim Nguyen is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by J. William St. Clair of Legal Aid of West Virginia.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge F. Jane Hustead.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 16-C-567

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