California Court of Appeal, February 1, 2008

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On reconsideration, the California Court of Appeal confirmed its previous ruling in this right of publicity case involving over 14,000 certificates of authenticity bearing the plaintiff’s name without his permission. The court held that the plaintiff was entitled only to $750 in statutory damages for a single violation of his right to publicity even though the plaintiff had argued that he was entitled to $750 for each certificate that was issued, which would have resulted in a damage award of $10,545,000. (We summarized the August 2007 ruling.) On reconsideration, the appeals court specifically directed the trial court to allow the plaintiff to elect either (1) to have judgment on the complaint entered for the disgorged profits of $14,060 together with $750 for his Section 3344(a) statutory damages, or (2) to have a new trial on the entire complaint and reinstate the plaintiff’s common law invasion of privacy claim and his prayer for punitive damages.