The Spanish law firm Iuris&Factor, in collaboration with the U.S. firm Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP *, has filed a lawsuit under New York’s Adult Survivors Act ** and New York City’s Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law on behalf of the Spanish model and client of Iuris&Factor since 2003, Minerva Portillo. The defendants named in the lawsuit include (i) Terry Richardson, (ii) Trump Model Management LLC, (iii) T-Management LLC, and several shareholders associated with the former modeling agency: (iv) TMG Member LLC, (v) DJT Holdings LLC, and (vi) Annie Veltri. The Complaint was filed in the Southern District Court of New York and requests a jury trial.
In 2004, Minerva was at the peak of her modeling career, ranking among the top 50 models globally. She was represented by renowned agencies such as Paris-based Marilyn Agency, Milan’s Why Not Model Management, London’s Select Model Management, and her main agency, View Women Models, based in Barcelona.
Among others, her modeling work during that time included campaigns for Cacharel, Caramelo, Chopard, David Yurman, Diamond Bride, El Caballo, El Corte Inglés, Etxart & Panno, Formula Joven, Fornarina, Garnier, Genny, Guitare, Harolt, Jean Louis David, Jacques Dessange, Josechu Santana, Krizia Jeans, Krizia Poi, Lanco me, L’Altra Moda, Levi’s, Liberto, Lina Bocardi, Loligas, L’Oreal, Mala Mujer, Mangano, Manuela Pavesi, Margon, Maria Mare, Max Mara, Model Novias, Muchacha, New Look, New Yorker, Niza, Osborne, Phard, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Prénatal, Puig, Punto Blanco, Revlon, Rosa Clara, Rossela Spera, Sposabella, Take Two Jeans, Women’ Secret, and Xti footwear.
As described in the Complaint, Minerva’s Spanish modeling agency established an association with Trump Model Management LLC to act as her agency and represent her in the United States.
BRIEF ACCOUNNT OF THE FACTS
The Complaint alleges that when Minerva arrived in New York in 2004, Trump Model Management booked her for two photoshoots with world-renowned photographer Terry Richardson. According to the Complaint, at the studio, she was offered cocaine, which she declined, and a drink.
The Complaint goes on to detail how shortly after consuming the drink, she started feeling dizzy and disoriented, and then Mr. Richardson joined Ms. Portillo on set, undressed, and sexually assaulted her. The Complaint alleges that the sexual assault was photographed by Mr. Richardson’s employees.
The Complaint notes that those photos of the assault were later displayed in an art gallery as part of an exhibition and published by the book publisher Damiani, based in Bologna, Italy. The Complaint alleges that although Iuris&Factor demanded Terry Richardson cease publishing these photographs because they were taken without consent and infringed upon Minerva’s rights, Mr. Richardson disregarded the demand.
The Complaint alleges that the widespread publication of this assault dealt a devastating blow to Minerva’s professional career, leading even her primary agency to terminate her contract in 2005.
Minerva faced not only indifference but at times outright reproach from within the industry, the Complaint explains.
As alleged in the lawsuit, after years of suffering in silence, in 2017, Minerva was encouraged by the #MeToo movement and the stories of other survivors and was able to publicly share her experience of sexual assault for the first time with Vogue Spain.
The Complaint also explains that this article, coupled with other allegations of abuse against Terry Richardson, caused a significant industry backlash against the photographer.
Ms. Portillo is represented in this case by Aleix Cuadrado, a dual-qualified attorney from Iuris&Factor, and U.S. attorneys Carolin Guentert and Christine Dunn partners at Sanford Heisler Sharp. The Complaint was filed on November 21, 2023, case 1:23-cv-10237 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Both firms will work hard to ensure that Minerva can experience justice for the sexual assaults she alleges in her lawsuit.
* Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP is a national public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville, and Baltimore. Sanford Heisler Sharp focuses on employment discrimination, Title IX, wage and hour, whistleblower, criminal/sexual violence, and financial services matters. The firm has recovered over $1 billion for its clients through many verdicts and settlements. The National Law Journal recognized Sanford Heisler Sharp as 2021 Employment Rights Firm of the Year and 2021 Human Rights Firm of the Year.
** The Adult Survivors Act (ASA) was enacted in May 2022 by Governor Kathy Hochul for the State of New York. It encompassed a one-year period, starting from November 24, 2022, during which victims of sexual assault whose claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations could file civil lawsuits against their abusers. If successful, such lawsuits, enable victims to seek financial compensation from the individuals or entities responsible for the abuse.
Iuris&Factor is a leading law firm based in Barcelona, Spain, with thousands of clients, specializing, among other areas, in white-collar crimes and in protecting the image rights and privacy of famous personalities, as well as their physical and moral integrity. The firm represents individuals with public profiles, celebrities, and models, advising them and protecting their professional careers.
It maintains an accredited leadership position due to its reasonable success in defending the interests of its thousands of Spanish and international clients. The firm focuses on values of excellence, commitment, expertise, knowledge, innovation, proactivity, integrity, and client satisfaction.
To learn more about Iuris&Factor:
+34 93 3621836