QUEENS, N.Y. (CN) – A bride claims a photography studio violated her privacy by selling her wedding photos to the New York Daily News, which used them to embarrass her and her “close knit Italian-American family” by publishing with caption such as “Mob Wife Whines,” and “Guilty goon’s wife learns it’s not easy being married to the mob.”
Paula Pipitone sued JoVon Fine Art Photography – but not the Daily News – in Queens County Court. She claims the studio “received some form of consideration form the Daily News in exchange for copies of Ms. Pipitone’s wedding pictures.”
Pipitone, nee Paula Biancaniello, married alleged Bonanno family associate Vito Pipitone in 2009. She says her contract with the wedding photographers allowed JoVon to reproduce the photos “for advertising purposes,” but not to sell them to a third party.
The News reported repeatedly on Vito Pipitone and his bride. Its Nov. 30, 2010 story began: “A mobster and his beautiful bride will live happily ever after – once he’s finished serving his prison sentence.
“Vito Pipitone, whose Hawaiian honeymoon was interrupted by a federal indictment in Brooklyn, was sentenced to 3½ years Tuesday despite an impassioned plea for leniency from his wife.
“The Bonanno crime family associate has a knack for marital missteps and probably could have gotten off with less time for stabbing two young men in Queens if not for his wiseguy antics.
“When asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Pipitone, 29, copped a tough-guy attitude and clammed up.”
Pipitone, 30, says she has an “exemplary” reputation and was “well known to the relevant public and trade” from her work as an administrative assistant for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
She says JoVon hurt her reputation, her health, her employability and “is continuing to use Ms. Pipitone’s image for purposes of trade without her consent.”
She claims that the media inquiries and other effects of the photos’ publication, in print and on the Internet have put her “and her immediate and extended family … in shock.”
She adds: “Defendant’s use of plaintiff’s images is not in connection with newsworthy events, but is for the purpose of trade and commerce, in connection with defendant’s sale of photographs and advertising of its business.”
Vito Pipitone was sentenced in November 2010 to 3½ years in prison for the stabbing and beating of two teen-agers he suspected of breaking windows at a Queens restaurant that allegedly was protected by the mob, according to the Daily News.
In its Nov. 30, 2010 story, updated on June 24 this year, the Daily News reported that Vito Pipitone “even screwed up the beatdown – he attacked the wrong victims suspected of breaking windows at Napa & Sonoma restaurant in Whitestone, Queens, which was under mob protection. Pipitone’s brother, Anthony Pipitone, reputed Bonanno capo, also pleaded guilty to the attack.”
Paula Pipitone seeks punitive damages for privacy violations, breach of contract, civil rights violations, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She also wants JoVon ordered to stop selling her pictures.
She is represented by Mario DeRossi with Stern & DeRossi of Carle Place, N.Y.
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