A company that sued on behalf of four professional models who said a West Los Angeles gentleman’s club wrongfully used their photos to promote the establishment was awarded $50,000 Friday, about half of what the plaintiff’s attorney had recommended.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for less than a day before finding that the models’ photos were used on the Plan B club’s social media ads without the women’s permission. The models were represented in the suit by Timed Out, which acquires and pursues claims for rights-of-publicity violations by third parties made by clients.
In his closing argument Thursday, Timed Out lawyer Zachary Page said trial evidence showed the fair market value of the use of the models’ images by Plan B and the establishment’s owners, Prisma Entertainment LLC, amounted to $60,000 for Katarina Van Derham, $10,000 each for Kristina Chai and Jessica Killings and $15,000 for Leanna Decker, the only model who did not testify during the trial. He recommended that Timed Out be awarded $95,000 in damages.
Trial testimony showed Timed Out would receive a third of whatever damages were awarded. Page declined to say how the remainder would be divided among the four models.
In his closing argument, defense attorney John C. Griffin said all four models are doing well financially and that there is no evidence the use of their images by Plan B in 2015-16 has hurt their careers. He said Killings and Chai both testified they have more followers on the social media now than they did before Plan B used their photos. He also said Van Derham has an upcoming film role.
Griffin also told jurors that Killings acknowledged having hosted an event at a gentleman’s club and that she had once worked as a stripper.
In her testimony, Killings said she danced nude during the recession after her car sales job failed to produce sufficient income.
Two months after Timed Out filed suit in June 2017, Prisma filed a cross-complaint against social media strategy and publicity firm Chippewa, seeking reimbursement for any damages Prisma may have to pay. Judge Gregory Keosian told jurors before opening statements Tuesday that the cross-complaint was resolved before trial, as were the claims of models Kimberly Cozzens and Ursula Mayes, who previously were plaintiffs in the suit.
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