TV News Anchor Wins Legal Battle Against Hustler; Bad Legal Advice Costs Larry At Least $135K

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — from – Local news anchor Catherine Bosley has triumphed over Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt in a years-long battle over a revealing photo his publication ran of her with out her permission.

The photos were taken in 2003 when the then-37-year-old television reporter participated in a Key West Florida bar’s wet T-shirt contest and ultimately disrobed.

The photographer who captured images of Bosley posted them online. She and her husband later negotiated with the photographer for rights to the photos.

The dissemination of the photos over the Internet cost her job at a CBS-affiliate station in Youngstown, she said at the time. Bosley was later hired at WOIO Channel 19 where she now co-anchors the noon newscast and reports other newscasts.

Bosley’s suit against Flynt’s company stemmed from a photo and description Hustler printed in 2006 of Bosley as a part of its “Hot News Babes” feature. The magazine calls the feature a contest in which readers nominate attractive female news personalities to be spotlighted.

In Bosley’s case, her Cleveland-based lawyers Andrew Kabat and Richard Haber argued that the magazine blatantly violated her rights failing to get her permission to print the photo. Their only motive was to make money off the image, the lawyers argued.

Instead they plucked a photo from the Internet in which her breast was partially exposed. It was one of the photos Bosley owned the copyright for.

Hustler’s lawyers argued that they didn’t need permission to publish the photograph and didn’t seek it after their law firm advised them they didn’t have to.

A federal jury sided with Bosley and her husband, Richard Brown, and awarded them $135,000 plus attorney fees. The court did dismiss a violation of privacy rights complaint prior to trial that had been a part of the original filing.

Flynt’s company continued to fight and appeal the case but was turned down by a panel of appeals court judges this week. The Plain Dealer is attempting to reach them for comment and determine whether they will appeal the case to the Supreme Court — as they have in other cases.

Bosley’s attorney Andrew Kabat said he was proud of the anchor for sticking up for her rights in this case, even though it hasn’t been easy for her.

He said Bosley didn’t want to speak about the case at this time.

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