United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
ARIANNY CELESTE LOPEZ, CAMILA DAVALOS, CIELO JEAN GIBSON, DENISE MILANI a/k/a DENISE TRLICA, HILLARY HEPNER, JAIME EDMONDSON-LONGORIA, KRYSTAL HIPWELL, and LINA POSADA, Plaintiffs,
ADMIRAL THEATRE, INC. d/b/a ADMIRAL THEATRE, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Matthew F. Kennelly, District Judge.
Admiral Theatre, Inc. has moved under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) to dismiss the claims of plaintiffs
Arianny Celeste Lopez, Camila Davalos, Cielo Jean Gibson,
Denise Milani (also known as Denise Trlica), Hillary Hepner,
Jaime Edmondson-Longoria ("Longoria"), Krystal
Hipwell, and Lina Posada for failure to state a claim. In
considering the motion, the Court takes the plaintiffs'
factual allegations as true and assesses whether they have
asserted a plausible basis for relief. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
plaintiffs are eight professional models. Each earns a living
by selling her images to be used in advertisements,
endorsements, and promotions of products and services. To
establish and maintain their careers in the modeling
industry, and to protect their reputations, the plaintiffs
are selective regarding the companies and brands for which
Theatre operates a strip club in Chicago where it sells
alcohol and entertains patrons with nude and/or semi-nude
women. Admiral Theatre advertises and promotes its business,
events, and services using Facebook, Instagram, and other
social media platforms.
plaintiffs allege that Admiral Theatre published their images
in posts to its social media accounts without their consent
or knowledge and without compensating them. These posts,
plaintiffs allege, falsely suggest to the public that the
plaintiffs promote, endorse, or have an affiliation with
Admiral Theatre. The plaintiffs have not agreed, and claim
that they would never agree, to Admiral Theatre's use of
plaintiffs allege that Admiral Theatre posted photographs of
Davalos, Gibson, Milani, Hipwell, and Posada to its Facebook
page on or about February 9, 2018, February 11, 2016, July 8,
2016, July 20, 2016, and April 12, 2016, respectively. It
posted a photograph of Lopez to its Facebook and Instagram
pages on or about May 30, 2016. It posted photographs of
Hepner to its Facebook page on or about February 6, 2016 and
February 4, 2018. Those photographs included text regarding a
Super Bowl viewing party with "totally nude girls"
and a "private suite with a beautiful showgirl, "
and the date printed across the top of the image in the
latter photograph was changed from "Feb. 7" to
"Feb. 4." Finally, Admiral Theatre posted four
photographs of Longoria, on or about August 11, 2016,
September 11, 2016, February 1, 2016, and January 15, 2017.
Theatre never removed any of the plaintiffs' photographs
from its social media pages. Some, but not all, of the posts
contained captions describing events at or promotions offered
by Admiral Theatre.
plaintiffs assert claims against Admiral Theatre under the
Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), for false advertising
and false endorsement; under the Illinois Right of Publicity
Act, 765 ILCS 1075/10, for violations of the right to
publicity; for invasions of privacy by placing them in a
false light; and for negligence and respondeat
status hearing on May 21, 2019, the Court issued an oral
ruling denying Admiral Theatre's motion to dismiss as to
the Lanham Act claims. This order addresses the motion to
dismiss with respect to the other claims.
Illinois Right of Publicity Act
allege that Admiral Theatre violated the Illinois Right of
Publicity Act (IRPA), which prohibits the use of an
individual's identity for commercial purposes without her
written consent. 765 ILCS 1075/30. Admiral Theatre moves to
dismiss the IRPA claims of every plaintiff except Davalos
based on the statute of limitations and moves to dismiss
Davalos' claim as insufficiently pled.