Former Johnny Rockets Supervisor Settles Suit Over Dancing Video

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A man has settled a lawsuit he filed against the Johnny Rockets Group Inc. and other parties in which he alleged they shared liability for the unauthorized use for commercial purposes of what was supposed to be a private, training video of him dancing while working at the Knott's Berry Farm location in 2004.

During a conference on Monday in plaintiff Timura Jackson's lawsuit, an attorney for the Johnny Rockets Group and the other defendants informed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bruce Iwasaki of the accord. No terms were divulged.

Jackson's suit, filed in September 2021, also named as defendants Johnny Rockets owner Fat Brands Inc. and Fifth Avenue Restaurant Group, a Johnny Rockets franchisee that specializes in Las Vegas casino food court development.

The suit's allegations included violation of the right of publicity, unjust enrichment, false light and negligence.

Jackson worked in 2004 at the Knott's Berry Farm location, which at the time was the chain's largest restaurant, the suit states. He was hired as a server and soon was promoted to a supervisor, the suit stated.

Johnny Rockets management inspects franchise operations to ensure standards are being upheld and one such requirement is that servers dance, a tradition for which the chain was noted and which Jackson was asked to demonstrate, the suit stated.

As a supervisor, Jackson's dance was conducted in a closed restaurant with no customers or members of the public present. The session was recorded during a private corporate review with the understanding that it would be used internally for training purposes, according to the suit.

"Plaintiff was not aware, was never informed and never consented that his likeness would be turned into promotional material that would be publicly displayed and distributed to franchisees for commercial gain," the suit stated.

Jackson currently is a director of operations of a nonprofit entity. He was in a Las Vegas food court in 2020 when he saw a Johnny Rockets promotional video playing on a loop that appeared to be the same images that were recorded of him years earlier, the suit stated.

Several people at the food court, including associates of Jackson, observed and identified him dancing in the video, according to the suit.

"Plaintiff was publicly humiliated in front of his associates and strangers," the suit stated.

The defendants have distributed the commercial video of Jackson to an unknown number of franchisees involving more than 300 locations, 26 states and multiple countries without authorization, the suit alleged.

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