Cooley Law Grad Sues Photography Studio For Before and After Shots Of His School Picture

Recent Cooley Law School grad Aminur Khan did not take long in locating a client: himself. Khan is suing a Michigan photography studio, Call Photography, for using his photo without permission to advertise its ability to retouch blemishes — showing Khan in before and after photos where his skin blemishes were removed.

The company sent around Khan’s before and after picture to students at the law school to show how it could touch up pictures. Khan says that he was humiliated and suffered emotional distress. The complaint below includes invasion of privacy, negligence, and infliction of emotional distress. The strongest claim is the privacy count based on the appropriation of Plaintiff’s likeness of commercial advantage. That seems pretty straightforward in this case.

The emotional distress claim is based on the allegation that the before and after picture “quickly became the subject of conversation throughout Cooley Law School and plaintiff’s colleagues.” The defense could contest how distressful such a picture is, but the company laid itself open to such a charge.

Call photographed Kahn in February 2011 and then used his picture in November in an email to his “entire graduating class” and four other graduating classes.

Here is the complaint: Khan Complaint

Courthouse News as first seen on ABA Journal.

13 thoughts on “Cooley Law Grad Sues Photography Studio For Before and After Shots Of His School Picture”

  1. Jude, good point. I recently noticed a release relating to my son’s one year old pictures. Sure enough, it allowed them to do as they wished with the photos and to profit off of any photos taken. I refused to sign it. They accepted my business anyways.

  2. Am I missing it, or does this article not say whether or not there was a release? If there is a release, maybe there is no case. Some people who let you take their photograph will sign anything without reading it.

  3. In the absence of a signed contract showing Kahn received some benefit from the photographer in exchange for the right to use Kahn’s image, I believe Call will suffer from the wrath of Kahn.

  4. Call Photography will find Khan’s negatives very negative in the coming settlement.

  5. Stupid is as stupid does. This photographer isn’t related to the gem dealer in the thread about the prostitute, is he?

  6. Any photographer who professes to be a professsional, or even a serious amateur, ought to know you have to get a model release before using an image of a live person in advertising. That was dumb. He took the image and doubt seriously he offered the guy a fee or residuals. I think he owes the student.

    This is an object lesson in what not to do if you take pictures of people that you may publish later.

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