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Widow Sues Over Stock Photos of Her Husband

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) - United Sleep Medicine carelessly sold photographs of a man undergoing a sleep test to iStockphotos, allowing News 14 Carolina and other television stations to air them after the man died of cancer, his widow claims in Mecklenburg County Court.

William Crenshaw went to United because he was having trouble breathing, Deborah Crenshaw claims. United allegedly took pictures of him wearing a clear plastic breathing device during a sleep test. Those photos, in which his face was clearly identifiable, became part of his medical record, the lawsuit claims.

Crenshaw says United sold the images to iStockphoto, which added them to its portfolio and advertised them over the Internet, specifically targeting television stations and other businesses.

The plaintiff says she was in "utter shock and disbelief" when News 14 displayed pictures of her late husband on a news segment about sleep disorders and treatment.

"News 14, iStockphoto and United all owed a duty to Plaintiff individually not to publicly display the images," Crenshaw claims. The images allegedly caused her to suffer "intense and extreme emotional distress and mental anguish," for which she had to seek counseling.

She demands more than $10,000, plus punitive damages. Her attorney is Paul Whitfield.

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