ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When the spouse of a Florida police officer found a photo of him in an advertisement for a dating site, her husband couldn't explain it. Now, he's suing over it.
The lawsuit claims Golden Beach officer David Guzman became "furious that his photograph had been misappropriated." The husband and father is now suing London-based NSI Holdings Limited, accusing the company or someone connected with it of ripping a picture from his Facebook account to promote its UniformDating.com website.
According to the service, it claims to be the first of its kind dating site to connect "uniformed singles."
Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Manuel Hiraldo, who's representing Guzman, provided an example of an ad seen on Instagram. The user UniformDatingcom posted an image said to be of Guzman, identifying him as "Jason, 33" and "Single."
"Bullproof [sic] vest? Nah, it's all muscle..." the caption reads.
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Miami claims the company used Guzman's photo in several Facebook and Instagram ads around April 2018 when acquaintances told him his picture was being used. When his wife questioned him, Guzman "had to explain to his wife that he had no idea."
"Furious that his photograph had been misappropriated and that he had to explain to his wife why he was appearing in a dating service advertisement," the suit says Guzman sent an email to NSI Holdings to demand "the immediate removal of his likeness" in advertisements.
The company responded in a filing on Aug. 9 denying Guzman's claim. NSI Holdings says neither it nor its employees are Facebook friends with Guzman, and the company doesn't have access to his photos. During its own investigation, the company claims to have found a user profile, personal email address and other identifying information related to Guzman and his profession on the dating site.
Given that, the company argued Guzman "himself -- or at the very least, someone who knows" him created the profile.
"The user who created the profile with Plaintiff's image only visited UniformDating.com once, when the profile was created, which suggests a momentary dalliance," the filing reads. "Alternatively, it is possible that someone seeking to harm Plaintiff, and with access to Plaintiffs private Facebook page and who knew of his birthdate and personal email address, created the profile."
Guzman in his lawsuit says the company resisted to take down the ad and asked for proof of his identity. After supplying the information, he claims the advertisements continued. Guzman's suit argues it is against Florida law to use a picture of a person in the armed forces without obtaining consent. Guzman is a member of the Air Force Reserve.
Guzman is asking for "statutory damages, actual and punitive damages" and restitution of the company's "unlawful proceeds" of using his image.
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