The Fashion Law Exclusive - Chicago-based model, Aureen Berry, has lost her $7.9 billion battle against Ford Models, stemming from what she claims was the "misuse of her image." Berry filed suit against Ford in a Chicago federal court last year, alleging that the modeling agency "used her image on packages of 'fake' hair without her consent" and as a result, she asked the court to order billions of dollars in damages. Late last year, the district court ruled in Ford's favor, holding that it was wig marketer, Chade Fashions Inc., that had used Berry's image, not Ford, and now, the Seventh Circuit court of appeals has upheld that decision.
Berry claims she sat for a photo session commissioned by Chade Fashions, Inc. and signed a release form but never consented to the use of her image on hair extension packaging. Ford's connection to Berry? Well, Berry was represented by Suzanne's A-Plus Talent Agency, which was subsequently acquired by Aria Model and Talent Management, LLC. In 2003, Ford purchased Aria's assets, and so, according to Berry, Ford is liable to her. The court, however, held otherwise, stating that Ford "received no commercial benefit from the product that allegedly bears [her] image."