Hailey Clauson, the 17-year-old model whose parents filed a $28 million lawsuit against Urban Outfitters for using "blatantly salacious" photos of their daughter on t-shirts without their permission, will get her day in court, a federal judge in New York has ruled.
Judge George Daniels on Monday rejected Urban Outfitters' motion to dismiss the case, arguing against claims made by the Philadelphia-based chain that Clauson's suit is procedurally defective, Women's Wear Daily reported.
The ruling means the family's lawsuit will go forward two years after the photos, showing a then 15-year-old Clauson clad in leather shorts, sitting with her legs spread, perched on the back of a motorcycle and, in another, dangling a six-pack of beer from her fingertips, were taken.
The family's lawsuit, filed Aug. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, contends Urban Outfitters allowed the "blatantly salacious" shots of Clauson to appear on a T-shirt sold in two boutiques and its retail stores nationwide.
Also named as defendants in the suit are the photographer, Jason Lee Parry, and Blood Is the New Black and Brandy & Melville, the two boutique stores where the shirt was also sold.
The lawsuit says that "her crotch area [is] the focal point of the image" and notes that the shot is of interest to "the likes of pedophiles." The suit also claims the photos have damaged Clauson's reputation.
Parry and his production team defended their work on " Good Morning America" after the suit was first filed and said that Clauson is, in fact, just as responsible for the images, and that her parents approved the shoot and gave him permission to release the photos.
"She's a professional model," said Alice Davis, a videographer who assisted Parry in the March 2010 shoot. "She posed herself."
Parry told "GMA" he owned the photos and that his work was published one-and-a-half years ago with the permission of Clauson's parents, adding that Clauson's father saw at least some of the photos after the shoot.
"I flipped through the camera and I can truly say, I don't know which ones he saw, but I know he was happy," Parry said.
The lawsuit claims Parry agreed to not release the photographs after Clauson's modeling agency at the time, Ford Models, complained. She is now represented by the agency Next NY.
Nonetheless, the photos eventually landed in the German magazine Qvest, and then on the T-shirts.
A court date has yet to be set.
Clauson, who just recently turned 17, attracted more media buzz last month after images of her posing provocatively in a photo shoot for Pop magazine were released. The images show Clauson being strangled and posing hand-in-hand with a porn star named Destiny and a nude woman, according to Jezebel.com.
- Urban Outfitters