So who thought this was a good idea?
Miami Velvet is one of a handful of South Florida members-only night clubs for swingers, couples who share partners and can have group sex inside. To promote their website, the company used images of attractive women, clad in bikinis. The women’s pictures were often featured along side images of group sex occurring inside the nightclub, making the obvious inference that the women shown in the picture could be found in the club and were available for group sex. Except that the women in the pictures had no idea their modeling photos were being used by the site.
Thirty-two women filed suit in Miami Federal Court in December 2015, alleging their images had been used to “class up” the club that features “unhealthy and unsanitary” activities. Last week a jury awarded the group $892,000.00 or roughly an average of $28,000.
Some of the women shown on the site were: Joanna Krupa, who appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Real Housewives of Miami” ($65,000); Jaime Edmondson Longoria, a former Boca Raton cop and Miami Dolphins cheerleader ($32,500); and Cora Skinner, who appeared on the game show “Deal or no Deal” ($32,500). Also featured without permission was Colombian model Sandra Valencia shown below.
A judge in 2017 ruled that the company was liable for the use of the images without permission but it took another two years to get to the damages trial.
Among those having to pay the damages is Joy Dorfman, listed as manager of My Three Yorkies LLC, the company that runs Miami Velvet. Dorfman, testified she had no idea she was the manager and was only listed as an employee to receive health insurance. FREE LEGAL TIP: Its not good when your defense to copyright infringement and invasion of privacy is also a federal crime.She now sells real estate with her broker partner Ross Zipper (truth). Her husband is former hedge-fund manager and ex-professional poker player Randy Dorfman, who bought Miami Velvet in 2010.
While the plaintiffs were looking for $3,000,000.00 in total, I think the jury set a fair amount. No plaintiff was able to prove that anyone actually connected them to the site and they could not establish an actual financial harm, like a lost contract or business opportunity because of the images being on the Miami Velvet site.
The Dorfmans: Photos courtesy of Coldwell Banker Realty and The Hendon Mob Poker Site