'Buxom Barmaid's' Image Sparks Legal BrawlApril 27, 2022 – Media Mention
Benny Roshan, chair of the Probate, Trusts & Estates Litigation group, shared her commentary with WealthManagement.com in regards to a lawsuit pertaining to the use of an image of a deceased local celebrity. The late Ruthie Bisignano was a small bar owner turned icon who gained popularity by filling and serving glasses of beer from her chest in the the 1950s. After her passing, there's been legal battles between her heirs and those using Ruthie's identity for business publicity and advertising. Roshan explores the arguments of both sides of the legal brawl in the article.
According to Benny Roshan, a partner at Greenberg Glusker in Los Angeles, “Ruthie died intestate, which means her heirs inherited her wealth. Whether that wealth includes her right of publicity is an open question.” The answer is likely state-specific.
“A majority of states with some form of publicity law extend the right postmortem—meaning a decedent’s heirs can assert name and likeness claims on the decedent’s behalf. However, some states, including Iowa, recognize the right of publicity but have yet to extend that right postmortem,” Roshan continued.