(CN) – Rappers Mack Maine and Birdman used the image of an innocent teenager on an album cover with a rune about “affluenza” killer Ethan Couch, the boy’s parents claim in court.
Mark and Becky English sued the two rappers, Young Money Entertainment and Cash Money Records in Louisville Federal Court on Wednesday.
They claim the defendants misappropriated an image of their son from a social media website, edited it and put on the album cover without permission, falsely attributing Couch’s crimes to their son, who has “no relationship whatsoever” with Couch.
Couch and his Texas judge made national headlines in 2014 when the judge sentenced the 18-year-old to 10 years probation and therapy for driving drunk and killing four good Samaritans on the side of a road as they helped change a tire.
Couch was 16 at the time, driving 70 mph in a 40 mph zone and his blood alcohol content of 0.24, on stolen beer, was three times the legal limit for an adult.
Texas state Judge Jean Boyd apparently believed the testimony of defense psychologist Dr. G. Dick Miller, who said Couch and his family felt their wealth bought them such privilege that there was no rational link between behavior and consequences. Ethan Couch became known as the “ affluenza ” killer, amid national outrage.
Miller testified that Couch’s parents gave him “freedoms no young person should have.”
In the new lawsuit, the Englishes say their son, P.E., learned from a friend in June 2014 that his photograph was on the cover of the rap album.
“Thereafter, numerous people became aware of the photograph and brought it to P.E.’s attention,” the complaint states. “Said photo and song, together with the album cover and false identification of P.E. being the one who committed heinous acts, remains readily available for viewing by the general public.”
Cash Money Records could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
The Englishes, of Kentucky, seek damages for invasion of privacy, defamation, outrage and unjust enrichment. They are represented by Paul J. Schafer with Winters Brewster in Marion, Ill.
Though he avoided jail time, Couch and his family have faced six civil lawsuits filed by his victims and their families. They settled the final lawsuit against them on Oct. 9, filed by Kevin and Alesia McConnell and their son Lucas, who was 13 at the time of the collision. Lucas was riding with youth pastor Brian Jennings in June 2013 when they pulled over. Jennings was killed, along with mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles and Breanna Mitchell.
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