CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) – Roche Laboratories and its advertising firm grossly exceeded the limited photograph release signed by a woman with HIV, plastering her name, likeness, and sexual history in ads and on the World Wide Web for all to see, the woman complains in Federal Court.
Jane Doe says she was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1997. She began using Roche’s protease inhibitor, Invirase, in July 2003. Five years later, she says, a representative of co-defendant Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer Advertising approached her about participating in a targeted ad campaign aimed at other HIV-positive people who used Roche products.
Doe said she agreed that her name and likeness could be used only in an ad insert in Unite magazine, a Roche promotional publication found exclusively in the packaging of its medicines and medical devices.
Unite is not publicly sold or distributed on newsstands or otherwise, and Doe claims she legitimately expected no one to see the insert other than a limited circle of her peers – people living with HIV who also receive Unite magazine with their medication,
Doe says Gerbig Snell flew her to Los Angeles for a photo shoot. She claims the model release and disclosure agreement stated that use of her likeness would be limited to Roche lab’s professional trade communications.
But Doe says that some months after the ad insert appeared in Unite magazine, a doctor showed her a brochure he’d received that featured her photograph.
Disturbed at this unauthorized usage, Doe says she Googled herself in November 2009 and “to her shock and dismay,” found photographs of herself, her story, and intimate details of her condition and sexual history on at least five Roche-owned websites.
Compounding her grief, Doe says, she also found that her name, picture and story had been added to or linked to other websites independent of Roche’s websites.
Does wants Roche and its ad firms enjoined from using her name and likeness, and damages for invasion of privacy, negligence, emotional distress, negligent misrepresentation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.
She is represented by Norris A. Adams II and Edward G. Connette with Essex Richards in Charlotte.