Lawsuit By Dethroned Miss Puerto Rico Dismissed

Miss Puerto RicoKristhielee Caride, who sued the Miss Universe pageant after her Miss Universe Puerto Rico title was revoked, has lost her lawsuit, as a judge dismissed the case.

The Dethroning

Caride lost her title on March 17, 2016 and was replaced by first runner-up Brenda Jimenez. The reason given for Caride’s dethronement was her purposely avoiding the spotlight and failing to interact properly with the press.

When she was dethroned, Caride released a statement that, “I can tell you I got some help because a dark depression came over me and I couldn't eat or sleep.… This situation has hit me very hard.… [I feel] betrayed by the organization because there was never a moment that I disrespected them. There wasn't a reason for them to do what they did to me."

The Lawsuit

Caride sued for breach of contract. She sought to be reinstated as Miss Universe Puerto Rico, to receive all of the prizes that she had won, and to recover $3 million in damages.

Caride’s trial lasted almost one week. During the trial, Desiree Lowry, national director of Miss Universe Puerto Rico, testified that Caride refused to go to the salon that PR Crown Entertainment employed and used her own stylist instead. Lowry also testified that Caride refused to call a newspaper reporter and apologize for her behavior, “She looked at me with a face that said, 'Are you serious?” There was also testimony that one of the sponsor’s declined to work with Caride because they considered her a “risk” due to her behavior.

The presiding judge, Superior Court Judge Eduardo Rebollo, determined that Caride had violated the terms of her contract and PR Crown Entertainment had been within its rights to sever the relationship. Rebollo wrote, “Her dismissal as Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2016 was justified and no action to have her take back the crown will be taken, and neither will her right to represent Puerto Rico internationally in the Miss Universe pageant.”

Rebollo stated, “After going over documents and testimony, we found Kristhielee had no case here because she failed to fulfill her duties as Miss Puerto Rico ... as laid out in her initial contract." Rebollo cited several of Caride’s actions that constituted a violation of her contract with PR Crown Entertainment: Caride refused to have her hair color or style altered, she gave an interview where she gave terse answers to questions and said that she did not love cameras, and she failed to appear on a TV show because she said she had been stuck in traffic.

Caride’s attorney, Ernie Caban, commented on the decision,  "This wasn't a surprise for me, rights and justice don't always prevail in a trial. From my point of view, I am not surprised by Rebollo's decision. It is an erroneous, wrong decision."

Past Miss Universe Puerto Rico Drama

This was not the first time that a Miss Universe Puerto Rico has lost her crown. In 1994, the reigning Miss Puerto Rico, Brenda Robles, was dismissed because she was pregnant.

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