Fashion Law: Hailey Clauson Underage Teen Model Photo $28 Million Lawsuit Against Photographer Jason Lee Parry Dismissed #Longarm Statutes


( Fashion Law Judge Uduak Oduok enters the courtroom)

All rise! Court is in session. The honorable Ms. Uduak Oduok presiding.

You all may be seated. (Begins speaking)

Folks if you all recall, last year August 2011, I discussed the case of Hailey Clauson v. Urban Outfitters and Jason Lee. Jason’s publicist got in touch with me a little while back to give me an update on the status of his case. The case against him was dismissed. I will discuss the nuances that got him off the hook. The lawsuit against Urban Outfitters presses forward. Two key points I want you all to grasp from my discussion today:

1. Revisit my article on the case to see my discussion on what you need to keep in mind from a fashion model, photographer or Urban Outfitters perspective. In life, don’t we see this happen all the time? The one that started the trouble manages to walk away with scot free; but the one who joined the fun is the one left with the short end of the stick. Moral of the story, don’t do things because others are doing it whether you are a business or individual. Do your due diligence, be aware of your industry/market trends etc. but be sure to match to your own beat, especially if there is a potential you could face legal liability to the tune of thousands/millions of dollars.

2.The second and final point I want you all to grasp is the concept of  “Long Arm Statute” quoted in an excerpt from Jason’s release below.

What this means is that Jason got off on a legal technicality.

In plain English, if you never hung out in New York or did business in New York and/or if you did not commit a legal injury that affects a Plaintiff living in New York, then New York courts arguably have no power to hear your case. HOWEVER! There are laws called long arm statutes that simply say we will stretch our long arms from where we are to make you face the music in our state, if we can.

Most states will and do grant their courts the POWER (personal jurisdiction) over non state residents who perform or cause an act to be performed in that state that harms their resident. It is a requirement in most states that such personal jurisdiction (power) over you is as a result of a legal action that stems from an act you performed in that state. Now you see the long arm in effect.

There are two types of long arm statutes.

The first is called unlimited long arm statutes. In California where I practice law, the state is more liberal when it comes to making people deal with the problems they create while hanging out in California. California state courts are given power over any person or property over which the state can constitutionally exercise its power.

The Limited long arm statutes, in contrast, says “okay. We have power over you i.e. we can force you to come to our state to deal with the problems/mess you created that hurt our residents. But, there are certain situations we will do that.” These situations are enunciated in contract, property and tort cases, among others.

In our scenario, New York court is  saying the limited long arm statute DOES NOT apply in Jason’s case because “he did not conduct business in New York, he did not commit a [harmful] act in New York, or commit a [harmful] act outside of New York which caused injury in New York” that would subject him to the state’s “long arm” statute. If you are Jason, you are stoked and you have your Publicist send a release to me, like he did, saying “Ms. Uduak I read your view but see, the court dismissed my case. Woohoo!”

Good for Jason. Jason’s reality, however, does not necessarily translate to others who face/will face a situation like this. Dot your i’s, cross your t’s and don’t try to pull a fast one, especially where a teenage model is concerned.

We will see how this case shakes out for Urban Outfitters in the coming weeks ahead. They could take it all the way or they could count their losses, reach a reasonable settlement with Clauson and her family and of course be more cautious in their dealings with photographers et al.

Court is adjourned.

(Hits the fashionable gavel)




MEDIA ALERT – For Immediate Release
February 10th 2012

On February 9th, 2012, Jason Lee Parry receives news that $28 Million dollar Lawsuit is dismissed by NYC Judge. In dismissing the case against Parry, the court said “he did not conduct business in New York, he did not commit a [harmful] act in New York, or commit a [harmful] act outside of New York which caused injury in New York” that would subject him to the state’s “long arm” statute.

Urban Outfitters and Blood Is the New Black, a t-shirt manufacturer, remain as defendants in the case, however.

This is not only a big win for Jason Lee Parry but for freedom of expression and image making for all photographers worldwide. In a case that was based upon illegitimate facts from the teen model’s lawyers and parents and a scheme to not only make money and promote their daughters career but also to defame an innocent and rising up and coming photographer in Jason Lee Parry in the process. . .”