Model Defamation Case Dismissed Against Jason Lee Parry

A federal court in New York has dismissed a $28 million defamation lawsuit against photographer Jason Lee Parry on a legal technicality: He’s a California resident, the court said, so he’s not subject to jurisdiction under New York law.

The case was brought last year by the parents of a model who posed for Parry in a March 2010 fashion shoot at the age of 15. One of the images shows the model, Hailey Clauson, sitting on a motorcycle with her legs splayed and her crotch in the center of the frame. That image ended up on t-shirts sold by Urban Outfitters and other retailers. Clauson’s parents claimed that Parry failed to obtain a signed model release, and did not receive permission to license the images of their daughter. According to the lawsuit, the image on the t-shirt—and others produced on the shoot—defames the model.

In dismissing the case against Parry, the court said “he did not conduct business in New York, he did not commit a [harmful] act in New York, or commit a [harmful] act outside of New York which caused injury in New York” that would subject him to the state’s “long arm” statute.

Urban Outfitters and Blood Is the New Black, a t-shirt manufacturer, remain as defendants in the case, however.

Parry said in an interview with A Photo Editor in December that the model’s agent and father approved the treatment prior to the shoot.

“The model’s father was present for a majority of the shoot. He was shown photos while on set and sanctioned them long before they were published,” Parry told A Photo Editor. He went on to speculate that once the image in question showed up on t-shirts at Urban Outfitters, the parents decided to sue because it was an opportunity to get money “as well as create buzz for their daughter.”

Underage Model’s $28 Million Suit Against Photog Likely to Hinge on Model Release

2 Responses to “Model Defamation Case Dismissed Against Jason Lee Parry”

  1. Victoria - Whidbey Island Boudoir Photographer Says:

    I’d love to see the picture that inspired such a huge lawsuit! Seriously though, I would have never taken a provocative picture of a 15 year old, why would a photographer choose to do that?

  2. Chris Says:

    Victoria, here’s the link.

    What is the definition of “Provocative”; causing annoyance, anger, or another strong reaction, esp. deliberately.
    • arousing sexual desire or interest, esp. deliberately.

    This is a very fine line, when it comes to photography, no matter what the age of the model.

    I feel it was about getting MORE money. I’m sure she got paid by the client and/or photographer for this photo shoot.

    This is why I’m not looking forward to photographing minors, unless a release is signed by the parent/guardian…. With a release, this would have died in the beginning stages.