ATHENS, Ga. — A University of Georgia student recently filed a $2 million lawsuit against an official at her former high school and the Fayette County School District for using a photograph of her in a bikini without her permission.
The lawsuit alleges the photo was stolen from 19-year-old Chelsea Chaney’s Facebook page for use in an Internet safety seminar.
The now-UGA freshman had posted the photo taken during a family vacation in a semi-private forum of her Facebook page, where only “friends” and “friends of friends” had access to it.
The student’s attorney, Pete Wellborn, said the lawsuit is significant for the protection of people’s privacy.
“It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Chelsea to forget this ever happened, repress the memory and just move forward,” he said.
If she had done that, Wellborn said, she would have left the door open for a similar situation to happen to another young person.
The dollar amount sought in compensation for damages was to send a message, according to Wellborn.
“We came up with that amount to get their attention, but ultimately the amount will be left to a jury, and they might decide on $5 million or $500,000,” Wellborn said. “We wanted to make sure the requested relief was substantial enough to ensure that neither they nor any other school personnel ever do this to another young person.”