Commercial Division Blog

Posted: April 25, 2019 / Categories Commercial, Intellectual Property, Unjust Enrichment, Civil Rights

Plaintiff has no Property Interest in Likeness Outside Civil Rights Law

On April 3, 2019, Justice Masley of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Jonas v. Bayer Corp., 2019 NY Slip Op. 30930(U), holding that a plaintiff had no property interest in her likeness outside that granted by the Civil Rights Law, explaining:

Jonas' second cause of action for unjust enrichment is also dismissed. Indeed, the preemptive effect of the Civil Rights Law is fatal to a claim of unjust enrichment where the plaintiff has no property interest in her image, portrait or personality outside the protections granted by the Civil Rights Law.

(Internal citations omitted).

While this decision relates to the interpretation of New York's Civil Rights Law, fundamentally, it relates to commercial dispute. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at if you or a client have questions regarding whether someone is improperly using you--your image, fame or intellectual property--to advance their business interests.