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Kim Kardashian & Old Navy Settle Lawsuit Over Look-A-Like

from the aggressive-discovery dept

Almost exactly a year ago today, I had the displeasure of doing something I said I'd never do: discussing Kim Kardashian. At that time, this (snicker) celebrity, best known for being equal parts pin-cushion and friend-of-Paris-Hilton, sued Old Navy because a young lady named Melissa Molinaro happened to look a bit like her. For this, Kim decided she needed the reasonable sum of $20 Million for Old Navy's infringement of her publicity rights. You can see the supposedly offending video below.

I noted at the time that beyond looking somewhat similar to Kardashian, there didn't appear to be much else in common between the celebrity and the woman in the commercial.

How does just hiring someone that looks like someone else require a lawsuit? At no point when I braved my way through watching the commercial did I think to myself, “Oh, that's totally something Kim Kardashian would have done”. I mean, if the commercial showed the actress, oh I don't know, waving the Armenian flag, that would've been one thing. And perhaps if the commercial showed her videotaping herself being nailed by a mildly talented R&B singer, I would have inferred the reference. But the casting call for the commercial didn't even call for a Kim look-a-like! The actress, Melissa Molinaro, told E! Online that her casting call had been “for a true dance pop superstar.”

Well, those questions may go unanswered now, as we learn that the two parties have settled the case. It would be very easy to assume that, with a settlement, Old Navy didn't feel as though they were in the clear enough to fight this all the way through. However, a couple of things are to be noted in this settlement.

First, as with many settlements, the terms have not been publicized. No dollar amounts have been discussed at all. So, when it comes to monetary settlement figures, we know exactly nothing. Or, more precisely, we know that Old Navy paid Kardashian somewhere between zero and twenty million dollars. The linked article suggests that the commercial has been pulled from YouTube, which doesn't seem to be the case since the embedded example above works as of the time of this writing. It looks like a whole lot of nothing, as far as I can verify.

Second, while the article doesn't indicate which party engaged to reach a settlement first, there is some interesting information of the full-court press Old Navy was preparing to unleash on Kardashian in court.

After the lawsuit was filed, attorneys for Old Navy parent The Gap were aggressive in the discovery phase, launching an investigation to see whether Kardashian's reputation has been tarnished.

Around the time the Old Navy commercial was cast, Molinaro reportedly was dating one of Kardashian's ex-boyfriends, football star Reggie Bush, who was one of the people The Gap wanted to depose. The Gap also had sought information about why the clothing retailer Bebe decided to drop its Kardashian clothing line, financial records concerning Kardashian's clothing deals and further information about “Kim Kardashian's reputation as a singer and dancer.”

It sounds as though Old Navy (The Gap) was going to drag a bunch of Kardashian's personal life into the court room. This may strike some as vindictive, but I'd suggest that there was simply no getting around this. If The Gap wanted to investigate the impact of an alleged publicity rights violation had on someone who has made a name for themselves almost purely through exploiting their personal life (as is the case with Kardashian), that will inevitably drag that personal life into the courtroom.

So, while there are no details on the settlement terms at this point, the coupling of a weak case by Kardashian with what would have assuredly been an uncomfortable witness list put together by The Gap, makes it very easy to imagine Kardashian wanting the whole thing to go away quickly. And if that acts as a deterrent to future lawsuits over so-called publicity rights, that's a good thing.

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Companies: gap, old navy

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Comments on “Kim Kardashian & Old Navy Settle Lawsuit Over Look-A-Like”

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27 Comments
AndyD273 (profile) says:

Re:

Maybe the threat was to have all the stuff that is already in the public eye dragged together into one pile in the middle of the courtroom for the world to see how pathetic and shallow her life is.
Something like:
Old Navy: Ok, here’s the deal, right now the pathetic wreckage that you made of your life is spread thinly across the world like a light dusting of ash from a crematory smokestack. We are giving you two choices. One, drop this, and we’ll pull the commercial down and go our separate ways. Two, continue this and we’ll pull every bad decision, every bit of dirty laundry, every closet skeleton, every bit of dirt and grime that we can find out into the open and shine a spotlight on it so bright that the world will ridicule you and the name Kardashian will become slang for shame. You know that guy you fooled around with in second grade? Yeah, he’ll be up on the stand too.

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