Avril Nolan (25) was wrongly depicted as carrying the AIDS virus in an ad placed by the agency in AM New York newspaper which circulates free to millions of commuters every morning.
The Dublin City University graduate is now living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and works in public relations according to the New York Daily News.
The suit seeks $450,000 in damages.
“She was mortified,” Nolan’s lawyer , Erin Lloyd told the Daily News. “It has caused a lot of anxiety.”
The lawsuit charges that the ad forced her to have awkward conversations with “potential romantic partners,her employer, and friends.” The suit has been filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
She originally did the shoot with a photographer friend, Jena Cumbo, as part of an online fashion feature two years ago.
She is claiming that Getty Images, a major photo agency, sold her image to New York State without her permission. She does not have HIV or AIDS.
In a statement Cumbo said “I made a mistake. I didn’t understand my contract (with Getty). A lot of people dropped the ball.”
The state agency created the ad carried in the April 3 edition of am New York.
It showed the image of Nolan standing in front of a graffiti-covered storefront, alongside the messages: “I am positive (+)” and “I have rights.”
Lloyd said she is pursuing claims against the state for defamation and violation of Nolan’s civil rights.