Actress Katherine Heigl sues Duane Reade for unauthorised photo use

Actress Katherine Heigl has filed a US$6 million (S$7.5 million) civil lawsuit against New York pharmacy Duane Reade for using her name and an unauthorised paparazzi photograph of her in its commercial advertising. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Actress Katherine Heigl has filed a US$6 million (S$7.5 million) civil lawsuit against New York pharmacy Duane Reade for using her name and an unauthorised paparazzi photograph of her in its commercial advertising. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Actress Katherine Heigl has filed a US$6 million (S$7.5 million) civil lawsuit against New York pharmacy Duane Reade for using her name and an unauthorised paparazzi photograph of her in its commercial advertising.

Heigl, the star of the films The Ugly Truth and Life as We Know It and a best supporting actress Emmy winner for Grey's Anatomy, filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in New York federal court.

The complaint said she was photographed in March near a Duane Reade store in New York while filming a new television series. Duane Reade posted the photo on its Twitter and Facebook account with captions advertising the store without her approval, the complaint said, Duane Reade did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"We expect Duane Reade to pay for its wilful misuse of Katherine Heigl's name and likeness," said her lawyer Peter Haviland, adding that any money recovered would go to a charity she has supported for many years.

The complaint said Heigl intends to donate all proceeds from the lawsuit to The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, which was established in 2008 after her brother was killed in a car accident.

The 15-page lawsuit cited a tweet that Heigl claimed Duane Reade posted last month. "Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even #KatieHeigl can't resist shopping #NYC's favorite drugstore," it said.

The lawsuit said the tweet featured a paparazzi photograph of Heigl which was also posted on Facebook. It included a logo in the lower right corner that said, "Just Jared," referring to a celebrity news website specialising in paparazzi photographs.

It added that the actress "is highly selective and well compensated" when she chooses to endorse a product or service.

But she did not authorise the store to use her name, picture or image.

"Duane Reade is liable for not less than US$6 million in compensatory and punitive or treble damages," according to the lawsuit.

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