Family members of a murder victim whose autopsy photo is a part of the opening montage of a television series have filed a lawsuit over the use of the photo.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq., reports that the suit concerns the former NBC and TNT series “Southland.”
“A woman and her daughter filed a lawsuit Monday charging an autopsy photo of their son/brother who was murdered that is part of a montage at the beginning of the TV show ‘Southland’ violates their privacy, has inflicted great distress and caused other problems,” the story reports. “The suit in Los Angeles Superior Court claims the picture of their dead relative was misappropriated and has unjustly enriched the defendants.”
The suit names as defendants Warner Bros. TV, producer John Wells, NBC, TNT, the city of Los Angeles, the county of Los Angeles and Warner Home Video. It was filed by Hilda Abarca and Jessica Abarca “on their own behalf and as successor to the late Andy Nelson Abarca,” THR reports.
The lawsuit says Andy Nelson Abarca was murdered on Sept. 28, 2005. “In mid-September 2013 the plaintiffs say they saw his autopsy photo at the beginning of ‘Southland,’ apparently taken while his body was in the custody of the county coroner,” the piece reports. “They had no knowledge of the photo and never authorized its release, per the suit.”
The photo’s use on “Southland” has caused them to suffer problems ranging from anxiety to loss of dignity, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit is seeking damages of $750 for each unauthorized use, as well as punitive damages and an injunction to stop using the photo.
A spokesman for Warner Bros. TV said the company hadn’t yet been served with the lawsuit, and so had no comment.
The TV series aired its first season on NBC in 2009 before going on to a four-season run on TNT, ending in April 2013.