Home > News > Hustler Wins Right of Publicity Lawsuit Involving Nude Photos • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

Hustler Wins Right of Publicity Lawsuit Involving Nude Photos

Hustler Wins Right of Publicity Lawsuit Involving Nude Photos
Get XBIZ News
May 2, 2012 1:45 PM PDT    Text size: 

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Hustler magazine and publisher Larry Flynt recorded another victory in defense of the First Amendment, when a federal appeals court on Tuesday sided with Hustler in a dispute over nude pictures of a model published after she was killed by her pro wrestler husband.

In a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the court threw out a jury award of punitive damages in a lawsuit brought by Maureen Toffoloni, the mother of Nancy Benoit, the murdered wife of professional wrestler Chris Benoit. The lawsuit alleged that in publishing nude photographs of Benoit as part of an article about her murder that Hustler violated her right of publicity.

At trial in an Atlanta federal court, the jury awarded Benoit's estate approximately $19.6 million in punitive damages for Hustler's publication of Benoit's images. The trial judge reduced that amount to the Georgia statutory maximum of $250,000, which the court of appeals decision vacated.

On appeal, Hustler argued that even if the nude photographs were not newsworthy, Flynt and his staff honestly believed that their publication was newsworthy and protected by the First Amendment. As a result, any award of punitive damages was unjustified.

In agreeing with Hustler, the 11th Circuit panel found that Toffoloni had failed to refute the testimony of numerous witnesses establishing that Hustler's staff honestly believed in the newsworthiness of the images, and that "no reasonable jury could find by clear and convincing evidence that punitive damages were warranted."

Flynt's longtime attorney Paul Cambria remarked, "Our client is very satisfied with the Court's decision in this matter. While we still believe that publication of the Benoit images was newsworthy, the fact that the jury's punitive damages were vacated is itself a significant victory for those seeking to defend the First Amendment."

Cambria continued, "Editors make reasoned decisions every day as to whether something is or is not news. Had the punitive damages been allowed to stand, it would have signaled that even innocent mistakes as to the newsworthiness of information would be subject to punitive damages. Such a result would have had a chilling effect on the reporting of controversial or emotionally charged subjects.

"As a longtime defender of the First Amendment, Larry Flynt once again chose to make a stand, and he should be applauded for that."

Larry Flynt added, "Free speech is not free; you still have to pay the lawyers."

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

EDUCATIONAL FEATURES

Fraudulent Brazilian Trademark Registrations Running Rampant

Although you might not think often about protecting your trademark rights in Brazil, you need to — even if you don’t yet have a single Brazilian customer. Scammers are constantly looking for... More »

E-Stim Basics: Selling Customers on Powerboxes as Pleasure Tools

Electrosex is a commonly misunderstood pleasure practice for good reason: Most of us have negative associations with electricity; maybe we’ve been shocked after rubbing our feet across a carpeted... More »

Search Oftentimes Is Left to Chance

Adult content is frowned upon in search, whether in paid, organic or social. With the big algo updates from the past few years, Google has cleaned up search, trying to get rid of spammy and low-quality... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The European Summit

Mar 04 - Mar 07
Barcelona-Sitges, Spain

The TEA Show

Mar 05 - Mar 06
Hollywood, CA

Phoenix Forum 2017

Mar 23 - Mar 26
Tempe, Arizona

EXXXOTICA Denver

Mar 31 - Apr 02
Denver, CO.
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!