GULFPORT, Miss. — A minority nursing association has won a temporary restraining order against its founder in Mississippi federal court amid a lawsuit over the rights to group's trademark, website and other intellectual property.
The Black Nurses Rock Foundation represents 174,000 African American nurses and students from the U.S., Canada, Eastern Caribbean, Japan and Germany, according to court records.
The foundation is accusing former president and CEO Romeatrius Nicole Moss of hijacking its website and social media accounts after resigning. Members say Moss, who was charged and pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud last year, has completely disabled the group's online presence, according to court records.
She also requested the foundation pay her more than $90,000 a year in funds from donors to continue to use its trademark and other intellectual property, the foundation alleges.
U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden of Mississippi granted the foundation's request July 13 for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Moss preventing her from interfering with the foundation's use or registration of any trademark, trade name, domain name, email address, social media account name, account name, or other name that comprises or includes "BLACK NURSES ROCK."
Moss's attorney, Brad Harrigan of New Orleans, said in a statement Monday to the Clarion Ledger that Moss is the originator of the Black Nurses Rock trademark and social media presence.
"Naturally, we disagree with the outlandish allegations in the complaint," Harrigan said. "This is a simple trademark dispute, and we look forward to resolving this matter on the merits."
Moss founded Black Nurses Rock Foundation in 2015 while living in Gulfport, Mississippi, the Clarion Ledger reported.
She pleaded guilty last year to criminal health care fraud in which she accepted more than $70,000 in kickbacks for referring TRICARE beneficiaries to pharmacies furnishing compounded drugs while stationed at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing of the Western District of Oklahoma said in a statement last year. TRICARE is a health insurance program for the U.S. military.
Moss is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 10 in the health care fraud case. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.