New York Team Prevails on Summary Judgment Cross Motions in High-Profile Case

New York, N.Y. (January 29, 2019) - New York Partners Peter Shapiro and Jeffrey Spiegel and Associate Rebecca Goldstein prevailed on cross-motions for summary judgment in the Southern District of New York for their clients, several NYC-based gentlemen’s clubs.

The high-profile case, Toth v. 59 Murray et al., involved ten models, including well-known celebrity Carmen Electra, who filed suit alleging that the clubs had used their images without permission on websites and in social media, in violation of the Lanham Act, the New York Civil Rights Law and the New York General Business Law. They also claimed defamation.

Both plaintiffs and defendants filed cross-motions for summary judgment. We also filed a motion under the Supreme Court’s Daubert decision to disqualify the plaintiffs’ experts, who opined about the likelihood of confusion element of the Lanham Act claim and damages.

The court granted the defendants what amounted to a complete victory. The court dismissed the claims of all but one of the plaintiffs’ claims and it disqualified their experts. The court did grant summary judgment on the Lanham Act claim in favor of Ms. Electra, the sole genuinely famous plaintiff, but the court granted only injunctive relief preventing the clubs from using her image, which the clubs had long since stopped doing, because she had not proven any damages. The court also declined to award Ms. Electra any attorneys’ fees or costs because the defendants’ conduct was not in bad faith. 

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