Models Sue Top Agencies for $20 Million

     MANHATTAN (CN) - Professional models sued top modeling and ad agencies and cosmetics firms in a $20 million class action, claiming the defendants continue to profit from models' work after their contracts expire.
     Lead plaintiff Louisa Raske sued a slew of giant companies, including Next Management, Wilhelmina International, Leo Burnett Co., Saatchi & Saatchi, Revlon, Maybelline, and Trump Model Management, in New York County Supreme Court.
     Raske, 31, has graced the cover of a bridal magazine, according to the fashionmodeldirectory.com website.
     Her 19-page summons with notice broadly describes the agreements that many professional models make with their representatives.
     "Models are independent contractors of their modeling agencies," the complaint states.
     Raske says the agencies typically demand 20 percent booking fees. "These agreements contain industry wide terms and are commonly for a period of three years," the complaint states.
     She claims that the dozens of defendant agencies "commonly, without the knowledge of the models and or without legal authority or permission, either forge the models' signatures and/or execute documents as if the modeling agencies had contacted the models and had the legal authority to execute the documents."
     She claims the agencies do not disclose "statements/breakdowns to the models."
     "Since the models are unaware of the extended/expanded usages for which the modeling agencies have negotiated and received payment on their behalf, unless the models somehow fortuitously discover the use of their image on a product or in an advertisement, the models never demand or receive payment and at the very least, the modeling agencies are unjustly enriched by the models' funds," the complaint states.
     Raske claims that when other models voiced similar claims in Fears v. Wilhelmina Model Agency, the agencies "attempted to threaten and intimidate" them into dropping their claims. "The models were told by the modeling agencies that any models that participated in the class action would be 'blackballed' and would 'never again model in New York,'" according to the complaint.
     Raske seeks $20 million in class damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, injunctive relief, fraud and conversion.
     She is represented by Raymond Mellon and James Rowland, with Zetlin & De Chiara.
     Here are the defendants: Next Management LLC; Wilhelmina Models Inc.; Wilhelmina International Ltd.; Ford Models Inc.; Elite Model Management - New York LLC; DNA Model Management LLC; IMG Models Inc.; Trump Model Management LLC; MC2 dba aka Karin Models of New York LLC; Major Model Management Inc.; Silent Models LLC; Fusion Model Management Inc.; Marilyn Model Management Inc.; 1 Management LLC Red Model Management Inc.; Request Model Management Inc.; Supreme Model Management LLC; VNY Model Management Inc.; Men Women NY Model Management Inc.; Men Women NY Model Management Inc.; APM Models Inc.; Q Model Management dba aka New York Model Management Inc.; Click Model Management Inc.; S Model Management LLC; Elite Model Management Corporation; NYC Management Group Inc.; Does; McCann-Erickson USA Inc.; McCann-Erickson Corporation; Ogilvy + Mather Partners Inc.; Publicis Inc.; JWT LLC; Laird + Partners New York LLC; Leo Burnett Company Inc.; Saatchi + Saatchi North America Inc.; Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners Inc.; Does; L'Oreal USA Inc.; Revlon Inc.; Garnier LLC; Coty Inc.; Aveda Corporation; Sephora USA Inc.; Maybelline LLC; and Does.