Yogi Berra Sues TBS for Racy “Sex and the City” Advertisement

Lawrence Peter Berra v. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, No. 05600339
What happened?
According to the complaint, Turner Broadcasting System acquired the rights to broadcast “Sex and the City” and from April, 2004 to August, 2004 heavily promoted the program through print advertisements, subway kiosks, display boards and on public buses in New York City and elsewhere in the State of New York. 
The advertisement that Yogi Berra took exception to read as follows:

a) a type of yo-yo trick
b) sex with Yogi Berra
c) what Samantha has with a guy from yoga class.”
The advertisement included a picture of the character Samantha, played by Kim Cattrall, in a “rather alluring pose.”

The Offending Advertisement
Mr. Berra asserted that as a husband, father and grandfather he is deeply religious, maintains a moral lifestyle and “has a spotless reputation for integrity, decency and moral character.” Not surprisingly, Mr. Berra claimed that he had not given permission for TBS to use his name in the advertisement. He further alleged that the advertisement damaged his reputation and that he was not compensated for the use of his name in the advertising campaign.
Mr. Berra sought $5,000,000 in damages under the New York Civil Rights Law and an additional $5,000,000 in damages for unjust enrichment.

Who won?
Yogi Berra, via settlement. The case was reportedly settled out-of-court; however, the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Under § 50 of the Civil Rights Law of New York a person, firm or corporation can be found guilty of a misdemeanor if the name or photograph of a living person is used in an advertisement without that person’s consent.
Furthermore, § 51 allows the person to sue to stop the use of the name or photo and for damages arising from the unauthorized use, including exemplary damages.

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