Yesterday, the California Supreme Court granted review in Christoff v. Nestle USA Inc., the case involving a guy who noticed his face on a jar of Taster’s Choice 16 years after he had done a photo shoot for the company for a different product. Christoff was awarded over $15 million by a jury in 2005, based on his expert’s claim that the Taster’s face was responsible for roughly 5 percent of the profits from that product during the time his image was used. But that award was later reversed by the Court of Appeal.
Your reporter happened to be in the courtroom during that appellate argument, which he found to be a very amusing coincidence given his prior coverage of the story. (Why he is suddenly talking about himself in the third person, he does not know.)
The high court will take up the issue of the “single-publication rule,” which provides that companies with widely circulated products that should be visible to most people can be sued only once even though there have been many “publications,” and requires most such lawsuits to be filed within two years of the first publication. The Court of Appeal held that Christoff’s case was barred by this rule.