MIAMI—A Colorado-based model is suing a plumbing business over alleged unauthorized use of her photograph for advertisements in the Southern Florida region.

Kimberly Forbes Inghilterra filed the federal lawsuit on Jan 14 in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida Miami Division against The Plumbing Experts Inc., citing invasion of privacy and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA).

According to the claim, Inghilterra is a professional model who willingly appeared in a single commercial for The Plumbing Experts in 1999 as a favor to her parents who owned the company at the time. Because it was an informal favor, she did not require or sign a release for the commercial. The plaintiff’s parents sold the business to M. Clement Winke in 2000, and she claims that her image continues to have been used in advertisements from the time the company was sold to the present day.

The plaintiff alleges that because she only shot one commercial, the defendant must have taken her image off the film reel to exploit her image for marketing purposes, which she alleges goes against industry practice and thusly seeks compensation. Inghilterra claims to have lost privacy and licensing fees, diluting the value of her image and violating the FDUTPA, which protects individuals from deceptive acts in trade or commerce.

Inghilterra seeks action to cease use of her image in association with the defendant; damages from the use of her likeness, including profits and reasonable usage fees; punitive damages; and litigation fees. She is represented by Felix J. Lopez of DiBello & Lopez and Thomas M. Mullaney of The Law Office of Thomas M. Mullaney.

Southern District of Florida Miami Division Court Case number 1:16-cv-20180-KMM

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