An employer that is alleged to have posted messages impersonating an employee on her personal Facebook and Twitter pages while she was recuperating from an accident may be liable under the Lanham Act for false endorsement and under the Illinois right of publicity, a district court ruled. The employee alleged that while she was absent due to an injury, the employer authored posts and tweets promoting the employer's business that contained the employee's name and likeness and posted them to her personal accounts. The court ruled that the employee had sufficiently alleged, for purposes of a motion to dismiss the Lanham Act claim of false endorsement, that she had sustained a commercial injury based upon the employer's use of her name and likeness. The court also ruled that she had pleaded a continuing violation of her state right of publicity, on which the statute of limitations had not run when she filed her complaint.
Maremont v. Susan Fredman Design Group , N.D. Ill., No. 10-7811 (Mar. 15, 2011) Opinion