Katherine Heigl Drops Her Lawsuit Against Duane Reade

from the dropping-spree dept

Back in April, I wrote to inform you of the crazy-pants lawsuit filed by Katherine Heigl after Duane Reade, a drug store chain, tweeted out a photo of Heigl shopping at one of its stores. Under the auspices of publicity rights and the corollary idea that celebrities are simply better people with more legal privileges than the rest of us, Heigl wanted six-million dollars for the following tweet.


At the time, we noted that despite New York publicity rights laws being among the most tyrannical, it seemed strange for a lawsuit to be filed against a company simply for showing, you know, a thing that happened. While Heigl also claimed that this was a form of advertising, it's still just the accurate representation of something that occurred, which makes the whole advertising claim sort of silly.

Well, the lawsuit has now been voluntarily dropped with prejudice, along with news that Duane Reade has reached some sort of super-secret agreement with Heigl.

Papers to dismiss the lawsuit were submitted in New York federal court on Tuesday. The dismissal comes with prejudice, meaning that Heigl can't later sue again over Duane Reade's tweet and Facebook post. No terms were revealed in court papers, but Heigl's attorney provides at least some detail.

"Katherine Heigl and Duane Reade have worked out a mutually beneficial agreement," says Peter Haviland at Ballard Spahr. "Ms. Heigl has voluntarily dismissed her lawsuit, and Duane Reade has made a contribution to benefit the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation. The parties have agreed to keep the terms of the agreement confidential."
There's no way to be sure that Duane Reade didn't drop six million off at Heigl's charity, but I doubt it. Either way, it's sort of a shame to see the company run away from challenging the insanity of the claims in the original lawsuit. Publicity rights are beginning to result in ever-more ramped-up legal cases that anyone with a modicum of common sense will recognize as silly. It was a picture of Heigl shopping at a store. Somehow that resulted in the store having to settle and contribute to a celebrity's charity of choice? Come on now.

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Filed Under: advertising, katherine heigl, publicity rights, settlement, tweets
Companies: duane reade


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  1. icon
    burdlaw (profile), 29 Aug 2014 @ 8:44am

    Re: Entitlement

    Publicity rights serve to compensate celebrities for unauthorized use of their reputation for commercial purposes by freeloading opportunists like Duane Reade, Inc. It's the law, you know. If you don't like it, lobby for a change. If you have enough to spend enough the best Congress money can buy might change the law to benefit you and Duane Reade, but for now they are ripping off Heigle. You would also want to be compensated by those trying to get free endorsements from you, except that you don't have fame and fortune. Have-nots seem to always feel a sense of entitlement when they want an unearned share of what the "haves" have. Would you also feel entitled to jump and rape her because she is in the public, right? I mean, facts are facts, right - she asked for it. Or to jump her fence and use her pool because it's unfair she has one and you don't, so you should be entitled to an unearned share and just take it.

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