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Taster's Choice coffee label lawsuit sent back to appeals court

August 19, 2009|Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court wants a trial court to again take up a long-running dispute over the use of a former model's image on Taster's Choice coffee labels.

A Los Angeles County jury awarded Russell Christoff $15.6 million in 2005 after he discovered that Glendale-based Nestle USA had been using his image without permission on its freeze-dried coffee.

Christoff's face over a steaming cup of coffee was captured in a 1986 photo shoot. It appeared on eight different Taster's Choice labels in 18 countries from 1997 to 2003.

An appeals court reversed the jury's verdict, ruling that Christoff had failed to sue before the statute of limitations expired.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ordered the trial court to answer how statute of limitations deadlines should be calculated in lawsuits involving product labels.

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