TAMPA — The mother of a 16-year-old girl who ran away from home and worked as an adult dancer has filed a lawsuit against the club and a magazine that printed bikini-clad images of her.
Valorie Duran filed a lawsuit this month against Emperors Gentlemen's Club and Paul Allen, publisher of Nightmoves, a magazine about the adult industry.
"I don't think there is any legal defense at all," said Joe Bryant, Duran's attorney.
Luke Lirot, who has represented adult business owners and dancers, is Allen's attorney.
"I think that any rush to judgment that any of the defendants did anything wrong would be an error," Lirot said.
According to the suit, Duran's daughter ran away Oct. 13. Soon after, Duran filed a missing person report with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
During an unrelated investigation at Emperors on Adamo Drive in January, an undercover officer recognized the teen. Photos of her also appeared in a January issue of Nightmoves promoting live dancing at the club.
Officers returned the girl to her mother. "Then she promptly ran away," Bryant said.
She had been missing for more than five months until a recent phone call home. She turned herself in to the Los Angeles police, Bryant said. She will be sent back to Florida.
Lirot said that the teen showed an identification card to the magazine indicating she was 18.
"The release was signed by the same name appearing on the ID," Lirot said. "The photograph certainly looks to be the young lady photographed."
The suit seeks more than $15,000. Bryant said, though, the court could award up to $150,000 under a state law dealing with exploitation of minors.
"It's unfortunate this has caused such a deep tragedy, but I don't think it's my client's responsibility for her upbringing or the nature of her character," Lirot said.
Jared Leone can be reached at (813) 226-3435 or jl[email protected]