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Kelleth Cuthbert, a Golden Globes model who turned into an internet sensation, filed a lawsuit against Fiji Water Co. and their owner Wonderful Company. The suit was filed in consideration with the right of publicity when Fiji Water Co. used her photograph without her due consent. The photograph was used for an advertising campaign on a large scale. The 31-year old filed the lawsuit at the Los Angeles County Superior Court. According to her complaint, Fiji has used her likeness, identity and her photograph for a worldwide cardboard-cutout marketing campaign without her authorization.
As per Kelleth’s complaint, the companies violated the California State Law. The law protects a person’s likeness against any kind of misuse without proper authorization and consent. Kelleth claimed that there were multiple discussions between her and Fiji Water Co., however, they couldn’t reach a conclusion, therefore there was no formal agreement between the parties.
The Lawsuit states that Kelleth was contracted by Fiji Water Co. in an exclusive one-year deal worth $90,000 (£70,000), in continuation to which she was enlisted to be handing over Fiji Water Co. bottles in January during the Golden Globes Awards. Fiji Water Co. generated over $12 million in “brand exposure” in connection with her “photobombing” of various celebrity photos and her extensive social media fan following. However, there was no official agreement which allowed Fiji Water Co. to use her as the face of their advertising campaign. Kelleth demands she should be compensated for such unlawful activity.
Fiji Water Co. rejected all the claims of the model Kelleth and further argues that the lawsuit is frivolous and entirely meritless. The company further asserted that they negotiated a generous agreement with Kelleth, which she blatantly violated and said is now trying to force them to pay an additional compensation up to $500,000 (£385,000). However, Kelleth said that she had hoped to reach an amicable solution outside of Court but when they couldn’t come on a mutual agreement she sued the company as a last resort. Her lawyer stated that "Kelleth will not be bullied by Fiji Water, the Wonderful Company, or its billionaire owners," The verdict is yet to be given by the Los Angeles County Superior Court in favour of either of the parties.