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.”
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