tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017
Crime & Courts

Models sue Caliente nudist resort: Stop using our images

TAMPA — They’re Playboy playmates and stars of reality shows, feature movies and video games.

One, Jaime Edmondson, is engaged to Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria and has two children with him. The couple are scheduled to wed in December.

The 16 successful models say they are paid tens of thousands of dollars for each use of one of their images.

And they all have appeared - they say without their consent - in promotional advertisements for Caliente Resort and Spa, a nudist destination in Land O’ Lakes, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa.

The models are asking a federal judge to award them more than $1.6 million in compensation for the use of their images without permission or compensation.

The resort, they say, was warned to stop, but continued using their pictures on promotions for things such as a fetish “slap and tickle” party, giving the false impression they endorse the “deviant” lifestyle of spouse swapping and swingers.

Edmondson, a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader and Amazing Race contestant who lives in St. Petersburg, is the only local resident represented among the models, who predominantly give California as their state of residence.

According to the lawsuit, Edmondson appeared in “The Bunny House” documentary and a Trace Adkins video.

Without Edmondson’s consent, the lawsuit says, Caliente featured her image in a Swimming Optional Sunday promotion, as well as others, according to the complaint, which estimates use of her images is worth a minimum of $50,000 each.

Other plaintiffs have appeared in advertisements for everything from Target to Victoria’s Secret to Milwaukee’s Best Beer. They’ve won beauty pageants and walked runways wearing Versace and Valentino.

One, Alana Campos, was in a movie with Robert DeNiro and Morgan Freeman and was a ring girl for the Mayweather vs. Pacquaio fight.

Another, Clark Middleton Gilmer, had a small role in Argo with Ben Affleck and appeared on America’s Next Top Model, How I Met Your Mother, CSI and Dexter.

Plaintiff Amber Lancaster is a host on the game show, Price is Right, and has appeared on television shows including CSI: Miami, Entourage and The Bold and the Beautiful.

Yet another, Ursula Yvonne Mayes, is briefcase model number 5 on the show Deal or No Deal hosted by Howie Mandel and has appeared on both The Tonight Show and the Jay Leno Show.

The lone male, John Coulter, has appeared in ads for Fruit of the Loom and Joe Boxer. His image was used by Caliente in social media with the tag line, “The morals were looser,” according to court documents.

The models say they were not paid nor asked to appear in the Caliente promotions and did not give their permission.

Their lawyer sent a “cease and desist” letter in September, but the resort not only didn’t respond, but added more of their images to promotions, the lawsuit states.

Efforts to reach an official at Caliente on Monday were unsuccessful. Two phone messages and an email were not returned.

An attorney for the models, Chris Oprison, said he couldn’t comment beyond the complaint, which spans more than 400 pages. Oprison said the models’ images are on Caliente’s web site.

Oprison said he didn’t know from where Caliente obtained the images. “They stole them from somewhere,” he said.

The lawsuit says the resort has seriously damaged the reputations of the models.

“In the modeling industry, reputation is critical,” the complaint states.

esilvestrini@tampatrib.com

813-259-7837

Twitter: @ElaineTBO

Weather Center

10Weather WTSP

Comments