A group of models has filed a multi-million dollar proposed class action lawsuit in New York Supreme Court this week against more than seven model management companies, two advertising firms, L’Oréal USA Inc. (the American counterpart of the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty company), and Procter & Gamble. According to the models’ complaint, the aforementioned companies breached their contracts with the models by failing to compensate them for repeated use of their photos. At least 10 models filed suit against the agencies, which include Wilhemina Models, Ford Models and Elite Model Management New York, alleging they had recycled images of the models, sold them to ad agencies and major cosmetics companies, and collected checks from those parties but failed to pay the models.
The group of plaintiff models includes Alex Shanklin, Melissa Baker and others, who assert that they have worked for branding ranging from Dolce & Gabbana, Canali, J Crew, and Kenneth Cole, beauty giants like L’Oreal, and publications, such as Sports Illustrated and Maxim, among others.
The suit is being lead by Louisa Raske, an American model, who filed a $20 million class action lawsuit last October against a handful of major model management companies in the U.S., including Ford, Wilhelmina, NY Model Management, Fusion, Marilyn, VNY, etc., accusing the defendants of deceptive accounting practices that have allegedly robbed models of royalty payments. Her suit was shut down in September by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice O. Petere Sherwood, who said she could only sue agencies that she has actually worked with.