From the Blog

Models slap CT strip clubs with trademark lawsuits

Here is a little press from the Hartford Business Journal, by Matt Pilon, for some of our recent cases. Download a copy here.

Carmen Electra and more than two dozen other models and actresses are suing six Connecticut strip clubs for trademark infringement, alleging that the venues used their photos in promotional and advertising materials without permission or compensation.

Attorneys for the women filed five lawsuits in April alleging trademark infringement, unfair trade practices, privacy violations and other counts against the following clubs: Mynx Hartford, Mynx Groton, Mardi Gras II in East Windsor, Hollywood Cabaret in Southington, Rockstar Cabaret in Wolcott and Keepers in Milford.

A few plaintiffs, like Electra, are named in several of the recent suits.

The models argue that the alleged use of their images was misleading because they never worked at or were affiliated with the clubs. They also allege the venues did not pay them to use their pictures, a number of which appeared in promotional materials on the clubs’ websites and social media pages, the complaints allege.

Besides Electra, whose legal name is Tara Leigh Patrick, reality TV actress and model Joanna Krupa is also among the pool of Connecticut plaintiffs.

Electra is a plaintiff in the complaints filed against the Mynx clubs and Rockstar Cabaret.

This Facebook screenshot was included as an exhibit in the lawsuit against East Windsor’s Mardi Gras II. Pictured is one of the plaintiffs, Kim Cozzens, according to the suit.

Attorneys for the Mynx clubs and their owner, Alfred Ciraldo, did not respond to a request for comment. Peter Shapiro, an attorney for Rockstar and its owner Andrew Wielblad, declined comment. Jonathan Klein, an attorney for Keepers, also declined comment. As of press time, no attorneys had entered an appearance for Hollywood Cabaret and Mardi Gras II.

The suits appear to be part of a national trend.

In November, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that groups of models and actresses had filed at least 50 lawsuits against strip clubs in at least eight states. The Connecticut suits, all filed by New Haven-based attorney John Radshaw III, appear to be the first time that clubs here have been targeted.

Regardless of the number of suits, it may be difficult for the models to get significant payouts.

In January, a New York federal judge issued a permanent injunction barring several strip clubs from using Electra’s image.

However, the court awarded her no money because she couldn’t prove the club profited from her image, or that she lost money as a result of its use, Bloomberg Law reported.

Meanwhile, other fellow plaintiffs didn’t win injunctions or damages, partly because they could not prove they had a trademark recognizable to consumers, the website said.

Carmen Electra and more than two dozen other models and actresses are suing six Connecticut strip clubs for trademark infringement, alleging that the venues used their photos in promotional and advertising materials without permission or compensation.

Attorneys for the women filed five lawsuits in April alleging trademark infringement, unfair trade practices, privacy violations and other counts against the following clubs: Mynx Hartford, Mynx Groton, Mardi Gras II in East Windsor, Hollywood Cabaret in Southington, Rockstar Cabaret in Wolcott and Keepers in Milford.

From the Hartford Business Journal