Starts with this dubious headline in the Daily News:
$1M BOO BOO: Actress sues, says lawyers cheated her in ad
But when you read the whole thing, Elena Aroaz has a good lawsuit:
She’s suing over her tiny cut—of the profits.
An actress hired to portray a victim in a wrongful injury case in a law firm’s tongue-in-cheek commercial has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the spot’s producer.
Actress Elena Aroaz, 36, says in a suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court that Levinson Trachtenberg Group paid her $600 in 2009 to appear in the 30-second ad, which was only supposed to air on local cable TV for a year.
In the commercial the dark-haired thespian stares indignantly into the camera while talking about the horrible pain of her “injury.”
“It’s like I had this huge machete chopping down on my hand every time I moved,” she says, wincing in feigned pain as a dirge-like piano soundtrack plays.
“Someone has to pay,” she says, whipping out a slim finger covered in a green Band Aid to reveal her injury—a paper cut.
As the words “There are some cases even we can’t win,” roll over the screen, a deep male voice tells viewers to call the law firm of Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman.
“But remember, you need to really be injured,” the announcer says.
After the spoof ad became a sensation—even getting a mention in the new York Times—the producer licensed it and the rights to Aroaz’s image to several other law firms around the country without her knowledge, she says in court papers.
Since then, the actress alleges, Levinson Trachtenberg Group also got in on the act, selling the commercial licensing rights and rights to her image to several other U.S. law firms—some of which used her images to create massive billboards advertising their services, according to her lawsuit.
The producer cut deals with law firms in New Mexico, Washington, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Kansas, South Carolina and Colorado, and earned $250,000 off her work without compensating her, the lawsuit charges.
The Levinson Trachtenberg Group paid her an additional $1,500 in 2012 when she confronted them about an ad using her image on a billboard in Arizona, Aroaz says. She later discovered that the law firm had paid the producer $20,000 for the licensing rights, her suit says.
Aroaz is suing the producers and the law firms that used the commercial; she is asking for compensation of close to $1 million.
None of the parties involved in the lawsuit returned calls for comment.
Well, OK, then I’ll comment. How hilarious is it that a law firm which advertises their wares in the subway presents an unusually honest and spoofy personal injury commercial and then everybody concerned injures the actress who sold the pitch.
And hey, here’s the tag line of a new ad: she remembered and she was really injured.