Sacramento Woman Sues Chipotle For $2.2 Billion Over A Photo
A Sacramento woman is suing Chipotle for $2.2 billion for allegedly using a photograph of her for promotional purposes without her consent. The Denver Post reports that Leah Caldwell alleges the fast food chain used her image without her permission for “commercial gain” and in violation of her “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
According to the lawsuit filed last month, the photo was taken in 2006 while she was eating at a Chipotle near the University of Denver. As she was leaving, Caldwell says photographer Steve Adams approached her and asked her to sign a release form to use the images, but she refused. She claims she was unaware her photo was being taken at the time.
Caldwell first realized the company was using her photo (pictured below) when she spotted the image on the wall of a Chipotle restaurant in Florida in 2014 and at two other Chipotle locations in California in 2015. The lawsuit states that Caldwell’s image had been edited to make it appear as if she was drinking alcohol, putting a “false light upon her character associated with consuming alcoholic beverages.” The complaint also names Chipotle CEO Steve Ells and photographer Steve Adams as defendants.
Caldwell, who is representing herself, is reportedly seeking $2,237,633,000 in damages, which is equivalent to the company’s profits over the past 10 years.
Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold did not comment on the pending litigation but said the “the filing of a lawsuit is purely allegation and is proof of absolutely nothing.”