Court Won’t Reinstate $400,000 Award in Louisiana Nude Photo Case
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court today refused to reinstate a $400,000 jury award to a model whose nude and semi-nude photos were published by two magazines without her consent.
The court, without comment, let stand rulings that overturned the awards won by model Ann Hockersmith.
Ms. Hockersmith sued over publication of photos in Partner and Game magazines, which are distributed by a company affiliated with Hustler magazine and publisher Larry Flynt.
She said she posed for the photos in 1977 at age 18 believing they would be published in Playboy magazine. Three years later, she submitted the photos to Penthouse magazine and was selected as its cover girl and centerfold for the April 1980 issue.
The photos later were published by Game and Partner without her consent. Ms. Hockersmith’s lawsuit charged defamation and invasion of privacy.
A federal jury awarded her $400,000. But U.S. District Judge Frank J. Polozola in Baton Rouge, La., threw out the award.
Polozola said, ″There is absolutely not a scintilla of evidence to support a verdict in favor of (Ms. Hockersmith) and the verdict is clearly contrary to the law.″
He dismissed her contention that she was humiliated by publication of the photos in such ″raunchy″ magazines as Game and Partner when she ″expressed no shame or humiliation at appearing nude and semi-nude in Penthouse.″
The judge also noted that the photos were taken at an apartment complex as residents watched.
The jury verdict apparently was based on factors other than the law and evidence presented at trial, Polozola said.
His ruling was upheld last May by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.