Woman Sues Chipotle for Billions—Over Photo

Leah Caldwell says it was used in ads without her approval
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2017 3:33 PM CST
Updated Jan 14, 2017 3:40 PM CST
Woman Sues Chipotle for Billions—Over Photo
A lawsuit could bring more trouble for Chipotle.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

A Sacramento woman has dreams of becoming the world's newest billionaire, all because of a single photograph. Leah Caldwell has little chance of collecting that kind of money, but she has nonetheless sued Chipotle for $2.2 billion because she says the chain used a photograph of her in promotional material for years without her permission, reports the Sacramento Bee. Caldwell says photographer Steve Adams snapped a picture of her at a Denver Chipotle in 2006 and asked her to sign a release, which she refused to do. Eight years later, she says she saw the image hanging inside a Chipotle in Florida, then in two different California locales in 2015. In fact, the lawsuit alleges that the chain first used the photo in advertising in 2006.

It also says the image was doctored to include alcoholic beverages, which she says casts her in a bad light. So why the massive sum? Caldwell is seeking $2,237,633,000 because that is precisely how much the company reported in net income for 2006 through 2015, per Denver 7. And once the chain announces its figure for 2016, she wants it tacked on to the total. As a post at Eater observes, "that's a lot of burritos." The lawsuit names Adams, the chain, and CEO Steve Ells. (Chipotle also got hit with a lawsuit by consumers who say its ad for a 300-calorie burrito was misleading.)

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