N.D. Ga.

Instagram Influencer Sues Shark Tank Competitor for Stealing Image and Likeness

Madelynn Boykin v. Kreyol Essence, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:22-cv-02489-MHC (N.D. Ga. June 22, 2022)

Plaintiff Madelynn Boykin filed suit against Defendant Kreyol Essence Inc. on June 22, 2022 in the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta Division) for false advertising and false endorsement in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), misappropriation of likeness and unjust enrichment in violation of Georgia common law, civil theft in violation of O.C.G.A. 51-10-6, conversion in violation of O.C.G.A. 51-10-1, punitive damages pursuant to O.C.G.A. 51-12-51, and attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to O.C.G.A. 13-6-11. The Complaint also asserts causes of action under Florida law, including unauthorized publication of likeness in violation of Fla. Stat. 540.08(1), invasion of privacy pursuant to Florida common law, civil theft pursuant to Fla. Stat. 772.11, 812,014, conversion and unjust enrichment under Florida common law, and punitive damages pursuant to Fla. Stat. 540.08(2), 768.71(2).

Plaintiff is a model and influencer on social media, including Instagram. Defendant is a producer and seller of Haitian beauty products who has distribution deals with Amazon and other large-scale retailers like Ulta Beauty, Inc. Plaintiff and Defendant executed an Influencer Term Sheet in 2019 in which Plaintiff agreed to post a photo and video of Defendant’s products on her Instagram page for $300 and to keep the photo public for no less than one year. In January 2021, Plaintiff saw a 2015 Instagram photograph of herself next to Defendant’s products an Ulta store. Plaintiff alleges that she did not never sent the appropriated photograph to Defendant or gave Defendant permission to use the appropriated photograph to endorse its products.

The Complaint alleges that Defendant has “stolen the image, likeness, and identity of Plaintiff from her Instagram page as part of a nationwide campaign to market and promote its beauty products.” Despite previously working with Plaintiff, the Complaint alleges that Defendant never attempted to contract with Plaintiff to use her image and likeness, thereby “depriv[ing] Plaintiff of her right to control the use of her likeness, disregarded her right to protect her brand and reputation, and robbed her of the compensation a model of like stature can expect for such a campaign.” Defendant’s unauthorized use of Plaintiff’s photograph in connection with its products gives the false impression that Plaintiff approves of and endorses Defendant’s products. The case has been assigned to Judge Mark Cohen.

Categories: N.D. Ga.

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