Buffalo KeaulanaSAN FRANCISCO >> A federal appeals court remanded for trial yesterday a claim by a group of surfing legends that they were defamed when clothier Abercrombie & Fitch made unauthorized use of their picture in its advertising two years ago.
shot in court
Group is suing clothier over use
of photo in "Surf Nekkid" ad
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed California U.S. District Judge Manuel Real's grant last year of summary judgment for Abercrombie & Fitch and ordered a trial in the case. It also set aside attorneys' fees awarded the company.
Bringing the case were George Downing, Paul Strauch, Rick Steele, Richard "Buffalo" Keaulana, Ben Aipa, Mike Doyle and Joey Cabell.
Abercrombie & Fitch had used a picture taken during the 1965 Makaha International Surf Championship in Hawaii for the clothier's 1999 advertising section entitled "Surf Nekkid," which featured nude and scantily clad models.
The surfers said the use of the photo caused them shame and embarrassment.
The surfers claimed Abercrombie misappropriated their names and likenesses without permission and in violation of California laws against commercial misappropriation.
Real dismissed the claim, saying the First Amendment protected the use of the photo, but the appeals court disagreed.