Porn Website Nears $12.8M Trial Loss For Tricking Models

Posted January 2nd, 2020.

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By Mike LaSusa

Law360 (January 2, 2020, 10:45 PM EST) — A San Diego court is poised to hit GirlsDoPorn.com with $12.8 million in damages in the wake of a trial centering on allegations that people and corporate entities associated with the adult website tricked women into appearing in pornographic films that were widely shared.

In a tentative decision filed Thursday, Judge Kevin Enright appeared to be convinced by the claims of nearly two dozen women bringing the lawsuit, which said the plaintiffs were falsely told that the pornographic films wouldn’t be shared widely and that their participation wouldn’t have negative consequences.

Judge Enright said that contrary to the promises made to the women, their lives had been “derailed and uprooted” and they had faced “harassment, emotional and psychological trauma, and reputational harm.”

“Defendants’ tactics have caused the videos to become common knowledge in plaintiffs’ communities and among their relations and peers — the very thing that plaintiffs feared and that defendants expressly assured them would not happen,” the judge said.

Judge Enright said he’s leaning toward granting the women the multimillion-dollar award, in addition to handing an injunction to GirlsDoPorn that would force the site to change some of its business practices.

Each of the 22 unnamed plaintiffs would receive $46,628.70, representing an equal share of the $1,025,831.50 in profits the website allegedly made from the videos in which the women appeared. They would also get non-economic damages ranging from $250,000 to $500,000 per plaintiff, yielding a total of $8.45 million in additional compensatory damages.

Moreover, Judge Enright suggested awarding $3.3 million in punitive damages, meaning each plaintiff would get $150,000.

The proposed injunction would force the defendants to remove videos of the plaintiffs from any sites they own or control. It would also require the defendants to provide agreements to prospective models at least five days ahead of filming, in addition to requiring “explicit, unambiguous consent” from models before using their names or personal information.

The proposed order would apply to the creator of GirlsDoPorn, a videographer and manager, the male performer in the videos, and various corporate entities associated with the website and its content.

Ed Chapin of Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP, who represented the plaintiffs, hailed the judge’s findings as a victory in a Thursday interview with Law360.

“This is a vindication of the brave and courageous women who have suffered a lot of harassment and a lot of intimidation in this whole process,” he said.

Aaron Sadock of Panakos Law APC and Daniel Kaplan of the Law Offices of Daniel A. Kaplan, who represented GirlsDoPorn, told Law360 on Thursday they are considering appealing if the tentative decision becomes final.

“At this point our clients are focused on defending themselves against the criminal charges in federal court in San Diego,” the attorneys said, referring to a separate case filed in October. “The findings of fact in the civil case do not carry over to the criminal case where the government will have to prove the facts under a much more stringent standard.”

The plaintiffs are represented by Ed Chapin of Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP, John J. O’Brien of The O’Brien Law Firm APLC and Brian M. Holm of Holm Law Group PC.

GirlsDoPorn and related defendants were represented by the Law Offices of Daniel A. Kaplan and Aaron Sadock and Bonnie McKnight of Panakos Law APC.

The case is Jane Doe Nos. 1-22 vs. GirlsDoPorn.com, case number 37-2016-00019027-CU-FR-CTL, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego.

–Editing by Michael Watanabe.

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