MANHATTAN (CN) - People magazine defamed a woman by claiming she had an affair with Google co-founder Sergey Brin and broke up his marriage, Nathalie De Clercq claims in court.
De Clercq claims People misidentified her in a photo in its Sept. 16, 2013, issue, which accompanied a story "regarding unchaste behavior and sexual misconduct." She sued Time Inc., Corbis Corp. and Splash News & Picture Agency, in New York County Supreme Court.
"Specifically, People magazine, one of the most widely circulated and read periodicals in the world, ran a story conveying the Ms. De Clercq had an adulterous relationship with Sergey Brin ('Brin'), the co-founder of Google, that broke up his marriage," the complaint states.
"As to Ms. De Clercq this was completely untrue. Ms. De Clercq does not even know Brin, let alone did she ever have any kind of relationship with him. The woman who has been romantically linked with Brin is Amanda Rosenberg, a Google employee ('Rosenberg'). Ms. De Clercq does not know Rosenberg either.
"Defendants brought De Clercq into this story by misidentifying a photograph taken of her while she was riding through the streets of New York as a photograph of Rosenberg. Both Rosenberg and De Clercq are Eurasian and have long dark hair. Rather than find a photograph of Rosenberg, defendants used a photograph of Ms. De Clercq."
De Clercq claims that she is a private individual, and that the photo "destroyed her credibility," handicapping her in her attempt to form a business and subjected her to international ridicule and derision.
She seeks punitive damages of at least $2 million for defamation and invasion of privacy.
She is represented by Jeffrey Eilender with Schlam Stone & Dolan.