She didn't even get E. Coli.
People suing massive corporations is nothing new in America, but one California woman is making headlines for the dollar amount attached to her lawsuit. Leah Caldwell has filed a lawsuit in California District Court accusing Chipotle of using an image of her in their advertising for eight years without her permission, and is asking for $2.2 BILLION in damages. Yes, billion.
The original photo of Caldwell was taken in 2006, but she claims she refused to sign a release waiver for her photo to be used. She assumed that was the end of it, until she stumbled across her photo in an Orlando Chipotle eight years later in 2014, then discovering her image was all over Chipotle restaurants throughout California as well.
The lawsuit alleges her photograph was edited to change her hairstyle (the horror!) as well as add people and alcoholic beverages – something she claims has placed a “false light upon her character associated with consuming alcoholic beverages.” Does sound far off from Shirley Caesar’s “U Name It Challenge” lawsuit.
The $2.2 billion is equivalent to all of Chipotle’s profits from 2006 to 2015. Attributing all those profits to only her image is going to be a pretty hard sell in court. However, if she’s hoping to generate press to leverage an out-of-court settlement, she’s well on her way to succeeding.