The family of St. Petersburg's "Hiccup Girl" filed a lawsuit Monday against a Pennsylvania hiccup cure company that it claims is using her image for profit.
Jennifer Mee, 17, and her family are suing Hic-Cup Ltd. for using her image and name on its Web site without their permission.
Mee burst into the spotlight in January 2007 with a case of hiccups that lasted nearly six weeks. Her parents contacted the St. Petersburg Times looking for expert help and got an onslaught of media attention and cure offers.
One of the cure offers came from Michele Ehlinger of Hic-Cup Ltd., who gave Mee a Hic-Cup, a stainless steel cup with a brass anode that is supposed to touch a nerve while the user drinks..
Mee's mother, Rachael Robidoux, said a representative of Hic-Cup came to her home offering a lucrative advertising deal if Mee would promote the cup.
"She asked us to take the cup with us on MJ in the Morning Show and the Today Show," Robidoux recalled. "But after that, we hadn't agreed to anything."
The family was compensated for those appearances, Robidoux said, but she later discovered Mee's picture was on a Web site for the Hic-Cup, something she said the family never agreed to.
"They even wrote us an official letter after [the Today Show] saying they didn't need her anymore," Robidoux said.
According to MSNBC.com, "The suit, filed in Bucks County Court, seeks more than $50,000."
Ehlinger released a statement that said the Web site featured only four "still frame captures" of TV shows Mee appeared on.
The statement also said, "Upon learning of the recent legal claim, and in spite of the sincere belief that the company had fairly paid for the right to use them, these small thumbnail pictures were immediately removed."
Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 269-5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.