- A New York model has been awarded $125,000 in damages after she unknowingly became the face of HIV when her photo was used by a state agency in an ad campaign.
- Avril Nolan, who does not have HIV, had sued the Division of Human Rights for $1.5 million for using her photo in newspaper ads with the words, “I am positive” and “I have rights” for its 2013 campaign.
- Nolan, who learned about the ad from a friend’s Facebook post, “had suffered ’emotional distress and humiliation during the immediate aftermath of the publication and for some time thereafter”.
A Brooklyn-based model has been awarded $125,000 after a state agency used a stock photo of her for an HIV campaign.
Avril Nolan, who is not HIV positive, originally sought $1.5m from the Division of Human Rights, claiming it had improperly used the photo.
In the public health awareness campaign, Nolan is pictured next to the words “I am positive” and “I have rights.” According to the lawsuit, the advertisement damaged both her personal and professional relationships, causing her emotional distress.
Nolan said she found out about the campaign after a friend saw the ad on Facebook. This realization was “shocking” and made her “sick to the bottom of her stomach,” the New York Post reported.
The image used was from a “street-style” photo shoot that Nolan did for a magazine feature in 2011. It was later sold to Getty.
In 2013, Nolan also filed a lawsuit against Getty Images after she realized that the photo was used in the public health campaign.
The HIV campaign ran in three online publications and four print publications, according to the Daily Mail.
Court of Claims Justice Thomas Scuccimarra ruled in Nolan’s favor, saying the issue stemmed from the ad not including a disclaimer clarifying that Nolan is a model.
Judge Scuccimarra also found Nolan had “suffered emotional distress and humiliation during the immediate aftermath of the publication and for some time thereafter; however, there is no basis for an award of future damages.”
‘Ms. Nolan did not give permission for the use of her photograph, taken in an entirely different context, and apparently thereafter sold,’ the judge wrote in the ruling.
Nolan was not awarded the full $1.5 million because Judge Scuccimarra noted that she was not currently in counseling and owned a successful vintage clothing business.
He stated that the $1.5million award would be more appropriate for someone who was falsely accused of being a ‘drug-dealing, alcoholic prostitute’. The Daily Mail reported.
Source: Daily Mail