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By using your image without your permission, they have committed an unlawful act.
Lawsuits are made up of causes of action, in other words, to file suit, you need a cause of action (at least one).
You can file multiple causes of action together. All causes of action have different elements you have to satisfy. For example, “negligence” is proven if there is (1) a duty owned to Plaintiff and (2) the Defendant breached that duty.
It takes too long to explain all elements of each cause of action, but from my knowledge, you have a lawsuit for the following causes of action: negligence, theft, nuisance, and defemation.
Some elements of the causes of action different by state due to different evolution of local law, but they are generally nearly identical.
If the hearing is by Judge (“bench trial
”), the Judge decides. If the hearing is by Jury (“jury trial
”), a majority of the Jury has to decide towards one way. Although a lawsuit is automatically set up to be heard as a bench trial, either party can request a jury trial. Defendants usually prefer a jury trial since it’s harder to convince a few minds, rather than one.
In the end, the Judge or Jury that decides whether or not the elements for each of the causes of action were satisfied, and if so, what damages are needed to rectify the situation.
While the matter is pending, the attorney can ask for a temporary injunction to have every image removed until the matter is resolved. Know, however, that 85% of such cases are resolved with a stern demand letter from your attorney and perhaps a draft petition included with it. That usually scared them to make a deal to avoid litigation
. When you hire an attorney, make sure to hire them on a contingency basis, i.e. they don't get paid unless you do (usually about 33%, or 40% if reward is from trial).
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