Did Lindsay Get Milk Money from E*TRADE?

Posted September 22, 2010 in Current Events by Arthur Buono

Lindsay Lohan and E*TRADE have settled their lawsuit. Lindsay claimed E*TRADE misappropriated her identity in a commercial first aired during last year’s Super Bowl. In a court filing Monday, she withdrew her complaint against E*TRADE with prejudice.

  • Lindsay Lohan claimed she’s the inspiration for milkaholic character
  • Your name and likeness can’t be used without your consent
  • Confidentiality of settlements protects reputations, pocketbooks


Name Misappropriation a Form of Privacy Invasion

You may remember the commercial. It’s embedded below if not. The E*TRADE baby’s main squeeze accuses said baby of cheating with "that milkaholic Lindsay." Then a fair-haired toddler pops into view, with an incredulous rejoinder. Lindsay immediately recognized her milkaholic self, and jumped E*TRADE for $100 million. The buzz says Lindsay got paid, but the dismissal says just that no costs or fees were owed any party. With prejudice means Lindsay can’t sue E*TRADE again on this claim.

Lindsay said E*TRADE was using her name or likeness without her consent. All states have some form of civil cause of action for the misappropriation of name or likeness. Your name and your likeness are rights you have in yourself. Generally speaking, no one can use them without your permission. As another example, Facebook’s been sued recently for allegedly doing just that. There are exceptions, like when a media organization does news reporting and you’re part of the story. Certainly though no one can use your name or likeness to sell a product or service without your say so.

Terms of the settlement are unlikely to be disclosed. It’s very common for at least one party to insist a settlement be kept confidential. This is especially true for celebrities and well-known corporations that have reputations to protect. Reputational risk is just one reason. Defendants, especially those that may be targets of other lawsuits, want to keep people guessing at any potential payday a lawsuit might bring.

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