A group of 24 models is suing three insurers to collect more than $2 million in settlements stemming from the unauthorized use of their images by several strip clubs in the Northeast.
The models, including Tara Leigh Patrick (also known as Carmen Electra) and Cielo Jean “CJ” Gibson, originally sued the strip clubs in federal court in Massachusetts and state court in New York for allegedly using their images in commercial advertising without consent or compensation. According to court documents, all three insurers for the strip clubs — USLI, Blackboard and Watford Specialty—declined to defend or indemnify the strip clubs under their commercial liability policies that included coverage for personal and advertising injury
The club owners denied the allegations but in both cases agreed to monetary judgments being entered against them along with confidentiality agreements in which they assigned all of their claims against the three insurers to the models, who on February 2 sued in federal court in Massachusetts to collect those judgments from the carriers.
The models’ complaints alleged that the clubs used their photos without consent to create the false impression with consumers that each model was a stripper at one of the clubs, promoted or endorsed the clubs, or was otherwise associated with the clubs. The models claim that the clubs’ actions amounted to commercial disparagement and violations of their privacy.
The Massachusetts case involved D&B Corp., MFRP Corp., and M.J.F. Bowery Corp., the owners of three clubs: The Golden Banana in Peabody, The Squire in Revere, and Ten’s Show Club in Salisbury. The New York case involved 760 8th Ave. Rest Inc., which owns the Manhattan nightclub, Copacabana Times Square.
Several models are involved in both cases. The Massachusetts consent judgment of $1,895,000 is to be shared by a total of 20 models; the New York judgment is for nine models.
The models are now suing the insurers in federal court in Boston for breach of contract for their refusal to defend or indemnify the strip club owners and a declaration that the insurers owe the models their defense and indemnification. They are seeking the full amount of the two judgments with interest plus compensation for their costs and expenses.
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