Baseball star’s wife sues strip club for using her photos in club promotions

The wife of former Tampa Bay Rays star third baseman Evan Longoria and two other models have filed a lawsuit against a Tampa strip club, alleging the club used stolen photos of them in advertisements and social media postings. Longoria played for the Rays his entire career until he was traded to the San Francisco Giants on Dec. 20.

Jamie Edmonson Longoria, Eva Papaj and Heather Rae Young say in the suit that had Deja Vu Showgirls asked their permission to use the photos, “each Plaintiff would have promptly and unequivocally declined.” Also, the models allege that the strip club’s use of the photos has harmed their brands.

The suit declares, “Even if a model chose to jeopardize her career for a compromising engagement — such as appearing in an advertisement for an all nude or all friction strip club — the fee she would charge would necessarily far exceed the fee typically charged for more mainstream and reputable work.”

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 2 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, includes 2014 St. Patrick’s Day promotional Instagram posts with pictures of Papaj and Young and 2014 Super Bowl party promotional posts of Longoria in Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks scraps of clothes.

Eva Papaj

heather Rae Young

The suit says, “Defendant’s conduct is therefore misleading and deceptive by falsely representing that each Plaintiff Model depicted in the misappropriated images is somehow affiliated with Defendant, has contracted to perform at and/or participate in events at Deja Vu, has been hired to promote, advertise, market or endorse Defendant’s events and other activities offered at Deja Vu, and/or that each Plaintiff depicted in the promotional materials and social media and/or Internet posts has attended or will attend each event and has participated in or intends to participate in the activities advertised.”

An estimation by 29-year modeling agent Stephen Chamberlin, paid for by the plaintiffs, puts the value of the Young photo used at $60,000; the Papaj photo at $90,000; and the five photos of Longoria at $650,000.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal