This case was last updated from U.S. District Courts on 01/18/2022 at 08:54:29 (UTC).

Martin v. Hearst Communications, Inc.

Case Summary

On November 19, 2021, William Martin (“Plaintiff”), individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, represented by Thomas Livezey Laughlin, IV of Scott + Scott, L.L.P. (NYC), filed a personal property lawsuit against Hearst Communications, Inc. (“Hearst” or “Defendant”), seeking injunctive relief, damages, post-trial royalties and other reliefs for the Defendant’s alleged non-consensual and unlawful use of customers’ names and likenesses in violation of the CRPL. This case was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York with Judge Edgardo Ramos and Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein presiding.

 

The Plaintiff filed this complaint against Hearst for its alleged nonconsensual and plainly unlawful use of its customers’ names and likenesses in violation of the CRPL.

 

In their complaint, the Plaintiff alleged that, “Plaintiff has never consented to Hearst using his name or likeness “on or in products, merchandise, or goods.” See id. Hearst likewise failed to notify any of its other subscribers, including the members of the Class, that it would use their names or likenesses “on or in products, merchandise, or goods,” by selling mailing lists on or in which Hearst used their names or likenesses (or their other Personal Reading Information). See id. And none of the members of the Class has consented to Hearst using their name or likeness “on or in products, merchandise, or goods.””

 

The Plaintiff further alleged that, “By and through these actions, Hearst, either directly or through one or more intermediary acting on its behalf and at its direction (including through NextMark and/or one or more “list manager” and/or “list broker”), knowingly “use[d] another’s name . . . or likeness . . . on or in products, merchandise, or goods,” without such person[s’] prior consent,” in direct violation of the CRPL. See §3344(a).”

 

The Plaintiff also alleged that, “Hearst knowingly used Plaintiff’s and the other Class members’ names and likenesses on its subscriber mailing lists without prior consent in violation of the CRPL. During the time period relevant to this action, Hearst, either directly or through one or more intermediary acting on its behalf and at its direction (including through NextMark and/or one or more “list manager” and/or “list broker”), directed and oversaw the compilation and assembly of the subject subscriber mailing lists from its customer database, the advertising of such subscriber mailing lists on the open market, and the actual sales of such subscriber mailing lists to various third parties.”

 

The only claim for relief laid down by the Plaintiff is for the alleged violation of the California Right of Publicity Law §3344. 

 

In their prayer for relief, the Plaintiff has requested the Court to certify the Class under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and name the Plaintiff as representative of the Class; grant injunctive relief along with an award of $750.00 in statutory liquidated damages or actual damages together with punitive damages pursuant to §3344(a); award costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, expenses pursuant to §3344(a), interests and any other relief the Court deems just.

 

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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    1:21-CV-09624

  • Filing Date:

    11/19/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Personal Property

Judge Details

Referral Judge

Gabriel W. Gorenstein

Presiding Judges

Edgardo Ramos

Ronnie Abrams

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

William Martin

Defendant

Hearst Communications, Inc.

Interested Party

Tiffany Anderson

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

Thomas Livezey Laughlin, IV

Attorney at Scott + Scott, L.L.P.( NYC)

230 Park Avenue17Th Floor

New York, NY 10169

Erin Green Comite

Attorney at Scott and Scott LLC

156 South Main Streetp.O. Box 192

Colchester, CT 06415

Carey Alexander

Attorney at Scott + Scott, L.L.P.( NYC)

230 Park Avenue17Th Floor

New York, NY 10169

Sean Thomas Masson

Attorney at Scott + Scott, L.L.P.( NYC)

230 Park Avenue17Th Floor

New York, NY 10169

 

Court Documents

#18

(#18) PROPOSED STIPULATION AND ORDER. Document filed by Tiffany Anderson..(Fraietta, Philip) (Entered: 12/22/2021)

#17

(#17) NOTICE of of Withdrawal of Motion re: #12 MOTION to Consolidate Cases 1:21-cv-8994, 1:21-cv-9624 . MOTION to Appoint Counsel .. Document filed by William Martin..(Comite, Erin) (Entered: 12/14/2021)

#25

(#19) ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONSOLIDATION: Plaintiffs Tiffani Anderson, Barbara Leach, Cathy McGruder, Dwana Eslinger, Judith Shaw, Kimberly Lantz, Lauren Sandberg, Nicki Mahood, Rebecca Venable, Shirley Collazo, Joan Burke, Maribel Ramirez, Maricarmen Ocasio, Joyce Hicks, Stephen Goldberger, Belinda Powers, Dawn Begin, Cathy Ricketts, Magda Lopez, and William Martin (collectively, "Plaintiffs") and Defendant Hearst Communications, Inc. ("Hearst" and together with Plaintiffs "the Parties") hereby stipulate as follows: 1. On October 29, 2021, Plaintiff Anderson initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to the Alabama's Right of Publicity Act, Ala. Code 6-5-770, et seq. with a Class Action Complaint. Anderson v. Hearst Communications, Inc., Case No. 21-cv-08895-RA, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 2. On November 3, 2021, Plaintiff Burke initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to California's Right of Publicity Law, Cal. Civ. Code 3344, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Burke v. Hearst Communications, Inc., Case No. 21-cv-08994-ER, Dkt. No. 4(S.D.N.Y.). 3. On November 3, 2021, Plaintiffs Ramirez and Ocasio initiated their action against Hearst pursuant to Puerto Rico's Right of Publicity Act, 32 L.P.R. 3151, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Ramirez, et. al. v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09109-LGS, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 4. On November 3, 2021, Plaintiffs Hicks and Goldberger initiated their action against Hearst pursuant to Ohio's Right of Publicity Law, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2741, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Hicks, et. al. v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09093-PAE, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 5. On November 8, 2021, Plaintiff Powers initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to South Dakota's Right of Publicity Law, S.D. Codified Laws 21-64-1, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Powers v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09198-PAE, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 6. On November 8, 2021, Plaintiff Begin initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to Ohio's Right of Publicity Law, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2741, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Begin v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09224-UA, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 7. On November 9, 2021, Plaintiff Ricketts initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to South Dakota's Right of Publicity Law, S.D. Codified Laws 21-64-1, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Ricketts v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09278-PAE, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 8. On November 11, 2021, Plaintiff Lopez initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to Puerto Rico's Right of Publicity Act, 32 L.P.R. 3151, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Lopez v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09334-LGS, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 9. On November 19, 2021, Plaintiff Martin initiated his action against Hearst pursuant to California's Right of Publicity Law, Cal. Civ. Code 3344, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Martin v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09624-ER-GWG, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 10. On December 7, 2021, Plaintiff Anderson amended her complaint to add Plaintiffs Leach, McGruder, Eslinger, Shaw, Lantz, Sandberg, Mahood, Venable, and Collazo, and to bring claims pursuant to Right of Publicity statutes for Alabama, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Nevada, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Washington. See Anderson, Case No. 21-cv-08895-RA at Dkt. No. 26; see also Ala. Code 6-5-7701; Cal. Civ. Code 3344; Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. 482P-1; IC 32-26-1-1; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. 597.770; Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2741.01; 32 L.P.R. 3151; S.D. Codified Laws 21-64-1; RCW 63.60.010. 11. After meeting and conferring, counsel for Plaintiffs and counsel for Hearst have agreed that the Anderson, Burke, Ramirez, Hicks, Powers, Begin, Ricketts, Lopez, and Martin actions should be consolidated for pretrial purposes before Judge Abrams who is presiding over Anderson, given that Anderson is the first-filed action. Specifically, the Parties agree that each of the cases under this stipulation asserts claims against Hearst under a state right-of-publicity statute targeting the same central facts. While the statutes are not identical, and there may be factual issues and defenses unique to certain plaintiffs, the statutes are substantially similar and will include overlapping issues oflaw and overlapping (if not identical) discovery from Hearst. 12. Accordingly, the Parties hereby stipulate to the consolidation of the Anderson, Burke, Ramirez, Hicks, Powers, Begin, Ricketts, Lopez, and Martin actions. 13. The Parties further stipulate that the consolidated actions should be re-captioned as the following: In re Hearst Communications State Right of Publicity Statute Cases: Case No. 21-cv-08895-RA. 14. The Parties further stipulate to the following case schedule: a. Plaintiffs shall file a Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint on or before January 14, 2022; b. Hearst shall answer or otherwise respond to the Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint on or before 30 days from the filing of the Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint[]; c. Plaintiffs shall file any opposition on or before 30 days from the filing of any motion to dismiss. d. Hearst shall file any reply on or before 20 days from filing of Plaintiffs' opposition. e. All other deadlines, conferences, and/or hearings shall be vacated. IT IS SO STIPULATED, THROUGH COUNSEL OF RECORD FOR PLAINTIFFS. SO ORDERED this 4th day of January, 2022. ( Amended Pleadings due by 1/14/2022.) (Signed by Judge Ronnie Abrams on 1/4/2022) Filed In Associated Cases: 1:21-cv-08895-RA et al. (ate) (Entered: 01/04/2022)

#16

(#16) NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Carey Alexander on behalf of William Martin..(Alexander, Carey) (Entered: 12/10/2021)

15 #1

Exhibit A - Hedin Hall Firm Resume

15 #15

Main Document

14 #1

Exhibit A - Scott+Scott Firm Resume

14 #14

Main Document

#13

(#13) MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: #12 MOTION to Consolidate Cases 1:21-cv-8994, 1:21-cv-9624 . MOTION to Appoint Counsel . . Document filed by William Martin..(Comite, Erin) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

#12

(#12) MOTION to Consolidate Cases 1:21-cv-8994, 1:21-cv-9624 ., MOTION to Appoint Counsel . Document filed by William Martin..(Comite, Erin) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

#11

No Description Available

#10

No Description Available

#9

No Description Available

#8

No Description Available

#7

No Description Available

#6

No Description Available

14 More Documents Available
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Docket Entries

  • 01/04/2022
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  • Docket(#19) ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONSOLIDATION: Plaintiffs Tiffani Anderson, Barbara Leach, Cathy McGruder, Dwana Eslinger, Judith Shaw, Kimberly Lantz, Lauren Sandberg, Nicki Mahood, Rebecca Venable, Shirley Collazo, Joan Burke, Maribel Ramirez, Maricarmen Ocasio, Joyce Hicks, Stephen Goldberger, Belinda Powers, Dawn Begin, Cathy Ricketts, Magda Lopez, and William Martin (collectively, "Plaintiffs") and Defendant Hearst Communications, Inc. ("Hearst" and together with Plaintiffs "the Parties") hereby stipulate as follows: 1. On October 29, 2021, Plaintiff Anderson initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to the Alabama's Right of Publicity Act, Ala. Code 6-5-770, et seq. with a Class Action Complaint. Anderson v. Hearst Communications, Inc., Case No. 21-cv-08895-RA, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 2. On November 3, 2021, Plaintiff Burke initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to California's Right of Publicity Law, Cal. Civ. Code 3344, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Burke v. Hearst Communications, Inc., Case No. 21-cv-08994-ER, Dkt. No. 4(S.D.N.Y.). 3. On November 3, 2021, Plaintiffs Ramirez and Ocasio initiated their action against Hearst pursuant to Puerto Rico's Right of Publicity Act, 32 L.P.R. 3151, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Ramirez, et. al. v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09109-LGS, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 4. On November 3, 2021, Plaintiffs Hicks and Goldberger initiated their action against Hearst pursuant to Ohio's Right of Publicity Law, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2741, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Hicks, et. al. v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09093-PAE, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 5. On November 8, 2021, Plaintiff Powers initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to South Dakota's Right of Publicity Law, S.D. Codified Laws 21-64-1, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Powers v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09198-PAE, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 6. On November 8, 2021, Plaintiff Begin initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to Ohio's Right of Publicity Law, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2741, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Begin v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09224-UA, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 7. On November 9, 2021, Plaintiff Ricketts initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to South Dakota's Right of Publicity Law, S.D. Codified Laws 21-64-1, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Ricketts v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09278-PAE, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 8. On November 11, 2021, Plaintiff Lopez initiated her action against Hearst pursuant to Puerto Rico's Right of Publicity Act, 32 L.P.R. 3151, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Lopez v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09334-LGS, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 9. On November 19, 2021, Plaintiff Martin initiated his action against Hearst pursuant to California's Right of Publicity Law, Cal. Civ. Code 3344, et seq., with a Class Action Complaint. Martin v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 21-cv-09624-ER-GWG, Dkt. No. 1 (S.D.N.Y.). 10. On December 7, 2021, Plaintiff Anderson amended her complaint to add Plaintiffs Leach, McGruder, Eslinger, Shaw, Lantz, Sandberg, Mahood, Venable, and Collazo, and to bring claims pursuant to Right of Publicity statutes for Alabama, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Nevada, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Washington. See Anderson, Case No. 21-cv-08895-RA at Dkt. No. 26; see also Ala. Code 6-5-7701; Cal. Civ. Code 3344; Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. 482P-1; IC 32-26-1-1; Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. 597.770; Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2741.01; 32 L.P.R. 3151; S.D. Codified Laws 21-64-1; RCW 63.60.010. 11. After meeting and conferring, counsel for Plaintiffs and counsel for Hearst have agreed that the Anderson, Burke, Ramirez, Hicks, Powers, Begin, Ricketts, Lopez, and Martin actions should be consolidated for pretrial purposes before Judge Abrams who is presiding over Anderson, given that Anderson is the first-filed action. Specifically, the Parties agree that each of the cases under this stipulation asserts claims against Hearst under a state right-of-publicity statute targeting the same central facts. While the statutes are not identical, and there may be factual issues and defenses unique to certain plaintiffs, the statutes are substantially similar and will include overlapping issues oflaw and overlapping (if not identical) discovery from Hearst. 12. Accordingly, the Parties hereby stipulate to the consolidation of the Anderson, Burke, Ramirez, Hicks, Powers, Begin, Ricketts, Lopez, and Martin actions. 13. The Parties further stipulate that the consolidated actions should be re-captioned as the following: In re Hearst Communications State Right of Publicity Statute Cases: Case No. 21-cv-08895-RA. 14. The Parties further stipulate to the following case schedule: a. Plaintiffs shall file a Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint on or before January 14, 2022; b. Hearst shall answer or otherwise respond to the Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint on or before 30 days from the filing of the Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint[]; c. Plaintiffs shall file any opposition on or before 30 days from the filing of any motion to dismiss. d. Hearst shall file any reply on or before 20 days from filing of Plaintiffs' opposition. e. All other deadlines, conferences, and/or hearings shall be vacated. IT IS SO STIPULATED, THROUGH COUNSEL OF RECORD FOR PLAINTIFFS. SO ORDERED this 4th day of January, 2022. ( Amended Pleadings due by 1/14/2022.) (Signed by Judge Ronnie Abrams on 1/4/2022) Filed In Associated Cases: 1:21-cv-08895-RA et al. (ate) (Entered: 01/04/2022)

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  • 01/04/2022
  • DocketCONSOLIDATED MEMBER CASE: Create association to 1:21-cv-08895-RA. (ate) (Entered: 01/04/2022)

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  • 01/03/2022
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT to Judge Ronnie Abrams. Judge Edgardo Ramos is no longer assigned to the case. (aea) (Entered: 01/03/2022)

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  • 12/22/2021
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  • Docket(#18) PROPOSED STIPULATION AND ORDER. Document filed by Tiffany Anderson..(Fraietta, Philip) (Entered: 12/22/2021)

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  • 12/14/2021
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  • Docket(#17) NOTICE of of Withdrawal of Motion re: #12 MOTION to Consolidate Cases 1:21-cv-8994, 1:21-cv-9624 . MOTION to Appoint Counsel .. Document filed by William Martin..(Comite, Erin) (Entered: 12/14/2021)

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  • 12/10/2021
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  • Docket(#16) NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Carey Alexander on behalf of William Martin..(Alexander, Carey) (Entered: 12/10/2021)

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  • 12/09/2021
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  • Docket(#15) DECLARATION of Frank S. Hedin in Support re: #12 MOTION to Consolidate Cases 1:21-cv-8994, 1:21-cv-9624 . MOTION to Appoint Counsel .. Document filed by William Martin. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit A - Hedin Hall Firm Resume).(Comite, Erin) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

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  • 12/09/2021
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  • Docket(#14) DECLARATION of Erin Green Comite in Support re: #12 MOTION to Consolidate Cases 1:21-cv-8994, 1:21-cv-9624 . MOTION to Appoint Counsel .. Document filed by William Martin. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit A - Scott+Scott Firm Resume).(Comite, Erin) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

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  • 12/09/2021
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  • Docket(#13) MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: #12 MOTION to Consolidate Cases 1:21-cv-8994, 1:21-cv-9624 . MOTION to Appoint Counsel . . Document filed by William Martin..(Comite, Erin) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

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  • 12/09/2021
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  • Docket(#12) MOTION to Consolidate Cases 1:21-cv-8994, 1:21-cv-9624 ., MOTION to Appoint Counsel . Document filed by William Martin..(Comite, Erin) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

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8 More Docket Entries
  • 11/22/2021
  • DocketCASE ACCEPTED AS RELATED. Create association to 1:21-cv-08994-ER-GWG. Notice of Assignment to follow. (wb) (Entered: 11/22/2021)

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  • 11/22/2021
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  • Docket(#5) ELECTRONIC SUMMONS ISSUED as to Hearst Communications, Inc. (vf) (Entered: 11/22/2021)

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  • 11/22/2021
  • DocketCASE REFERRED TO Judge Edgardo Ramos as possibly related to 1:21-cv-08994. (vf) (Entered: 11/22/2021)

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  • 11/22/2021
  • DocketCase Designated ECF. (vf) (Entered: 11/22/2021)

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  • 11/22/2021
  • DocketCASE OPENING INITIAL ASSIGNMENT NOTICE: The above-entitled action is assigned to Judge Unassigned. (vf) (Entered: 11/22/2021)

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  • 11/22/2021
  • Docket***NOTICE TO ATTORNEY REGARDING CIVIL. CASE OPENING STATISTICAL ERROR CORRECTION: Notice to attorney Thomas Livezey Laughlin, IV. The following case opening statistical information was erroneously selected/entered: Citizenship Defendant code 1 (Citizen of This State); County code New York. The following correction(s) have been made to your case entry: the Citizenship Defendant code has been modified to 4 (Incorporated/Principal Place of Business-This State); the County code has been modified to XX Out of State. (vf) (Entered: 11/22/2021)

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  • 11/19/2021
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  • Docket(#4) STATEMENT OF RELATEDNESS re: that this action be filed as related to 1:21-cv-08994-ER-GWG. Document filed by William Martin..(Laughlin, Thomas) (Entered: 11/19/2021)

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  • 11/19/2021
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  • Docket(#3) REQUEST FOR ISSUANCE OF SUMMONS as to Hearst Communications, Inc., re: #1 Complaint,. Document filed by William Martin..(Laughlin, Thomas) (Entered: 11/19/2021)

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  • 11/19/2021
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  • Docket(#2) CIVIL COVER SHEET filed..(Laughlin, Thomas) (Entered: 11/19/2021)

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  • 11/19/2021
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  • Docket(#1) COMPLAINT against Hearst Communications, Inc.. (Filing Fee $ 402.00, Receipt Number ANYSDC-25361423)Document filed by William Martin. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit A - Good Housekeeping Mailing List, #2 Exhibit B - Hearst Corporate Masterfile & Enhanced Mailing List).(Laughlin, Thomas) (Entered: 11/19/2021)

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