End of the Road for Lohan’s ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Suit

Lindsay Lohan poses at opening night of the Lohan Nightclub in the Kerameikos neighborhood Athens, Greece, on Oct. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

ALBANY (CN) – New York’s top court dismissed privacy claims Thursday over a supposed caricature of Lindsay Lohan depicted in the video game “Grand Theft Auto V.”

Decided 6-0 this morning, the ruling says computer-generated avatars can be considered portraits under the meaning of state civil rights law, but that the character Lacey Jonas found in the popular video game by Take-Two Interactive is not recognizable as Lohan.

Lacey Jonas appears in a sequence of “Grand Theft Auto V” that is part of approximately 100 hours of game play that supplements the 50-hour principal storyline.

Players proceeding through the game’s main plot encounter Jonas hiding in an alley from paparazzi and can elect to help in that mission.

Lohan argued that the selfie-posing Jonas is a dead ringer for her both in her fashion choices and the personal details she offers about herself.

In “transition screen” of the game, the Jonas character can also be seen striking what Lohan’s lawyers insisted was their client’s “signature peace sign’ pose.”

Lohan took her case to the high court in Albany after an intermediate appeals panel threw out her claims in 2016.

Dealing the former actress another blow, Judge Eugene Fahey wrote for the court today that it is “undisputed that defendants did not refer to plaintiff in GTAV, did not use her name in GTAV, and did not use a photograph of her in that game.”

“Here, the Jonas character simply is not recognizable as plaintiff inasmuch as it merely is a generic artistic depiction of a ‘twenty something’ woman without any particular identifying physical characteristics,” the 11-page opinion states.

“Those artistic renderings are indistinct, satirical representations of the style, look, and persona of a modern, beach-going young woman,” Fahey said of the Lacey Jonas images in the game’s transition screens.

In a separate 2-page opinion Thursday, the court cited the fate of Lohan’s case to reject similar claims by “Mob Wives” star Kim Gravano.

Like Lohan, the daughter of mobster Sammy “The Bull” Gravano drew parallels between her personal story and the “Grand Theft Auto” character Antonia Bottino.

Though this character makes references to her background as the daughter of a mobster who became a government witness, Thursday’s unsigned memorandum says Gravano “is not recognizable from the images at issue.”

Gravano’s attorney Thomas Farinella took heart in the broader import of Thursday’s ruling.

“Although we are disappointed the case is not moving forward, the decision is not in vain because the case created precedent when the Court of Appeals determined that computer generated images may constitute a ‘portrait’ within the meaning of the NY Civil Rights Statute,” Farinella said in a phone interview.

In both cases, Judge Rowan Wilson took no part.

Lohan’s attorney, Frank Delle Donne from Brooklyn firm Monaco & Monaco,  has not responded to a request for comment.

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