CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - Five women who had cosmetic surgery say they were humiliated to find that an Internet search of their names leads to before-and-after photographs of their naked breasts, posted by their surgeon to promote her business.
Michele Koo, MD, took the pictures from her patients' confidential medical files, according to five separate complaints in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
The patients, suing anonymously, say the photos depict them naked from waist to chin and disclose their names.
A simple Internet search of the patients' names calls up these photos, which have caused the women shame, anxiety and loss of sleep, according to the complaint. "Plaintiff did not consent to the use of her photographs or the disclosure of her name on the internet," one of the lawsuits states. "Plaintiff was not notified or advised that her photographs were on the internet either before or after the photographs and name were published by Dr. Koo.
"Defendant Dr. Koo knew or should have known through the exercise of reasonable care that plaintiff's photographs and name had been improperly disseminated and used and knew or should have known that they did not have authorization to disseminate and use the plaintiff's photographs or personal information."
The patients seek punitive damages for invasion of privacy, unreasonable publicity, breach of fiduciary duty, and wrongful commercial appropriation and exploitation of the plaintiffs' image and medical information. They are each represented by Neil Bruntrager of Bruntrager & Billings in St. Louis.