Vassiliades v. Garfinckel’s, Brooks Brothers
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
492 A.2d 580 (1985)
Mary Vassiliades (plaintiff) told only family and close friends that she had a facelift. But her plastic surgeon, Csaba Magassy, M.D. (defendant) used Vassiliades’s before-and-after photos in a television commercial and in a presentation at a store owned by Garfinckel’s, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoades, Inc. (defendant). Magassy assured the store director that he had obtained consent, but Vassiliades had not consented. The 79 people at the presentation did not recognize Vassiliades, and her photographs appeared in the commercial for less than 40 seconds. A coworker nonetheless recognized Vassiliades and told another coworker. Vassiliades testified that she became extremely depressed. The jury returned $350,000 verdicts for Vassiliades, but the trial judge granted a judgment for Dr. Magassy and Garfinckel’s, reasoning that the presentation served a general public interest and that the before-and-after photographs were not highly offensive. Vassiliades appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rogers, J.)
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