Bullard v. MRA Holding, LLCAnnotate this Case
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia certified a question to the Georgia Supreme Court regarding the availability and scope of an "appropriation of likeness" claim under Georgia law. In the spring of 2000, fourteen-year-old Lindsay Bullard exposed her breasts to two unknown men in a parking lot in Panama City, Florida. She was aware that the men were videotaping her at the time and expressed no objection to being videotaped. MRA Holding LLC obtained the recording and included it in its "College Girls Gone Wild" video series. MRA also used a still photo of Bullard that was taken from the video clip and placed it in a prominent position on the cover of the video box for the College Girls Gone Wild video that it later marketed and sold nationwide. MRA did not obtain Bullard's permission to use the video footage of her in the video or to use her photo on the video box cover. Television and internet advertisements were aired that incorporated Bullard's image. As a result, Bullard suffered humiliation and injury to her feelings and reputation as a result of the use of her image. Bullard sued MRA for, among other things, appropriation of her likeness. MRA moved for summary judgment. The District Court then certified several questions relating to Georgia law with regard to the appropriation of Bullard's likeness. Taking each in turn, the Supreme Court concluded that Georgia law governed Bullard's claim, and Georgia law gave rise to a cause of action. The Court concluded that Bullard could not have given her consent based on an analysis of the facts in relation to Georgia law, and that the measure of damages for an appropriation of likeness case would not include general damages, but would be measured by the value of the use of the appropriated publicity.