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Federal lawsuit claims Fargo strip club misused models' images, falsely associated them with business

Legal action seeks permanent injunction, treble damages.

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FARGO — A lawsuit filed in federal court claims a Fargo strip club used images of professional models in its advertising without permission and without paying for use of the images.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court also maintains that the 17 models named as plaintiffs in the suit had no connection to the Northern Gentlemen's Club and that the use of their images in advertising for the business could harm their reputations and make it more difficult for them to find work.

The suit asks the court for compensation for the use of the images and for a permanent injunction barring the strip club from using the women's images for promotional purposes.

It also asks for damages in an amount to be proven at trial and trebling of damages as permitted by law.

The Northern Gentlemen's Club declined comment.

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Online court records for the case do not yet identify an attorney representing the business.

The lawsuit claims that although it was not authorized to do so the strip club ran advertisements on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter featuring images of the plaintiffs, which the suit claims constituted false association; false advertising; unfair competition; and violations of the common law right of publicity "through appropriation, negligence, violation of North Dakota's deceptive trade practices statute, and unjust enrichment."

Named as plaintiffs in the suit are: Carrie Minter; Cielo Jean Gibson; Dessie Mitcheson; Eva Pepaj; Hillary Hepner; Ina Schnitzer; Irina Voronina; Jaime Edmonson Longoria; Jessica Hinton; Katarina Van Derham; Kimberly Cozzens; Lucy Pinder; Paola Canas; Rachel Koren; Sara Underwood; Tara Leigh Patrick and Tiffany Toth Gray.

According to the suit, the plaintiffs reside in a number of places around the United States and overseas, including California, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and Washington in the U.S., as well as Germany and the United Kingdom.

By using the women's images, the suit states, the strip club "fraudulently represented to the public that the plaintiffs endorse, are affiliated with, would perform at or agreed to advertise the club" and that the strip club "misappropriated plaintiffs' images and identities in total disregard of plaintiffs' rights."

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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