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Vassiliades v. Garfinckel’s, Brooks Brothers

District of Columbia Court of Appeals
492 A.2d 580 (1985)


Mary Vasilliades (plaintiff) told only family and close friends that she had a facelift. But her plastic surgeon, Csaba Magassy, M.D. (codefendant) used Vasilliades’s before and after photos in a presentation at a store owned by Garfinckel’s, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoades, Inc. (codefendant) and a television commercial. Magassy assured the store director that he had obtained consent, but Vassiliades had not consented. The seventy-nine people at the presentation did not recognize Vasilliades, and her photographs appeared in the commercial for less than 40 seconds. A coworker nonetheless recognized Vasilliades and told another coworker. Vasilliades testified that she became extremely depressed but offered no medical evidence of her distress other than her husband’s corroboration. The jury returned $350,000 verdicts for Vasilliades, 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 photographs were not highly offensive. Vasilliades appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rogers, J.)

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