Privacy

Crunchbase Faces $50M Suit: Misusing Names & Likenesses for Ads

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Crunchbase Faces $50M Suit: Misusing Names & Likenesses for Ads

In a recent class-action lawsuit filed by plaintiff Robert Casar against Crunchbase, Inc., allegations have been made that the company has violated certain provisions of Ohio state law. The case revolves around the alleged misuse of names, likenesses, and personas for advertising purposes without obtaining proper consent from the individuals involved.

Crunchbase and the Ohio Right of Publicity

The primary legal provision at issue in this case is Ohio Revised Code § 2741.01 et seq., commonly known as the Ohio Right of Publicity Statute (ORPS). This law protects individuals from unauthorized use of their name or likeness for commercial purposes and provides them with recourse to seek damages in such cases.

Additionally, OHS T § 2741.07(D)(3) is cited in the complaint as another violation by Crunchbase. This particular provision states that final injunctive relief is appropriate for class-action lawsuits when it concerns an entire class as opposed to individual members.

What Are The Specific Allegations Against Crunchbase?

The allegations against Crunchbase, a platform providing business insights and analytics, revolve around their alleged misuse of names, likenesses, and personas belonging to plaintiffs and other class members without obtaining proper written consent. According to Casar's complaint filed on May 10th, 2023 in U.S District Courts in Ohio Northern District; these actions violate ORPS as well as OHS T § 2741.07(D)(3).

The lawsuit claims that Crunchbase acted pursuant to common policies or practices in the same or similar manner with respect to all class members, which would make a class action lawsuit an efficient way of resolving the matter. Furthermore, it alleges that Crunchbase's records will enable plaintiffs to readily identify class members and establish liability and damages.

Who Are The Class Members?

The class members in this case are individuals whose names and identities have been allegedly used by Crunchbase in advertisements for their platform without proper written consent. To be part of the class, individuals must have had their names and identities misused in this manner by Crunchbase.

This particular lawsuit is not limited to residents of Ohio but extends eligibility for class membership across all states. As such, any individual who believes they have been affected by Crunchbase's alleged actions can potentially join the lawsuit as a member of the class.

What Damages Is The Plaintiff Seeking?

In terms of relief sought by Robert Casar on behalf of himself and other potential class members, there are several forms outlined within the complaint. First, Casar is seeking declaratory relief – which means having a court declare that Crunchbase's actions were indeed unlawful under ORPS and OHS T § 2741.07(D)(3). Additionally, injunctive relief is requested – asking for an order from the court prohibiting Crunchbase from continuing its alleged practices.

Apart from these non-monetary forms of relief, Casar also seeks monetary damages for himself and other potential claimants. Although no specific dollar amount has been stated in the complaint itself; it can be inferred that at least $5 million is being sought collectively given that federal jurisdiction requires this minimum threshold for damages in a class-action suit. Furthermore, punitive or exemplary damages may also be pursued if it can be proven that Crunchbase acted with malice or reckless disregard for the rights of those affected.

What Could Be The Next Steps In The Case?

As this case is still in its early stages, several steps must be taken before it can proceed to trial or reach a potential settlement. First, the court will need to determine whether the lawsuit meets the requirements necessary for class-action status. This includes assessing factors such as numerosity (sufficient number of claimants), commonality (shared legal issues or facts), typicality (representative claims), and adequacy of representation (plaintiff's ability to protect interests of all class members).

If class-action status is granted by the court, Crunchbase may choose to settle the case out-of-court or proceed towards trial. Should they opt for a trial, both parties will engage in an extensive discovery process involving document production, depositions, and expert witness testimony. Ultimately, it will be up to a judge or jury to determine whether Crunchbase indeed violated ORPS and OHS T § 2741.07(D)(3) and if so, award appropriate damages accordingly.

Case Facts

  • Status:
    Lawsuit Filed
  • Case Number:
    1:23-cv-00950
  • Filing Date:
    May 10, 2023
  • Jurisdiction:
    U.S. District Courts
  • State:
    Ohio
  • Court:
    Ohio Northern District
  • Plaintiff:
    Robert Casar
  • Defendant:
    Crunchbase, Inc.
  • Plaintiff Firm:
    Ryan M. Kelly, Anderson & Wanca
  • Defendant Firm:
  • Claims Administrator:
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Will Gendron
Will Gendron
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