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Evan Longoria's wife, former Playmate, files suit over Tampa strip club's use of her image

Deja Vu, a Tampa strip club, used pirated images of former model Jaime Edmondson Longoria to promote its business online, according to a lawsuit filed in Tampa. Longoria, wife of former Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria, is one of three women seeking a total nearly $4 million in damages in the suit. [Hillsborough Circuit Court files]
Deja Vu, a Tampa strip club, used pirated images of former model Jaime Edmondson Longoria to promote its business online, according to a lawsuit filed in Tampa. Longoria, wife of former Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria, is one of three women seeking a total nearly $4 million in damages in the suit. [Hillsborough Circuit Court files]
Published Feb. 7, 2018

TAMPA — The wife of long-time Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria has joined two other women in a lawsuit against a local strip club, claiming the club used their images without authorization to promote its business.

The suit was filed against Deja Vu Showgirls Tampa by Jaime Edmondson Longoria and Heather Young, both former Playboy Playmates, and Eva Pepaj, a model and actress who settled an earlier lawsuit that made similar allegations against another local strip club.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Models claim Tampa strip club pirated their images

The suit filed Friday in Hillsborough Circuit Court says Deja Vu used images of Edmondson to promote its showing of NFL games at the club, 6805 E Adamo Drive, including the 2014 Super Bowl. Images filed with the suit show her in provocative poses wearing cutoff NFL team t-shirts alongside promotional messages from the strip club.

Jaime Edmondson, 39, began dating Evan Longoria in 2012 and they married in 2015. They have two children. The Rays third baseman, 32, played 10 seasons with the team and was traded in December to the San Francisco Giants. His wife is listed in the lawsuit as a resident of Pinellas County.

Edmondson is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University and a former Boca Raton police officer. She later was a Miami Dolphins cheerleader, a participant in the reality TV series The Amazing Race 14, and has worked as a sports blogger and sports radio host.

She and co-plaintiff Heather Young were back-to-back Playboy Playmates of the Month, in January and February 2010.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Models tell Caliente nudist resort to stop using their images

The lawsuit, filed by the Miami-based Casas Law Firm, says Deja Vu used unauthorized images of the plaintiffs on its website and social media accounts, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The suit, which refers to plaintiff Longoria as Edmondson, says Deja Vu uploaded two images of her three times to its Facebook page. The accompanying language, according to the suit, read, "Broncos fans watch the big game at Tampa Dejavu and you won't be disappointed! #SEXYparty #Superbowl #broncos #Tampa #fullnude."

The suit includes images of models Pepaj and Young, both from California, and says they were posted to promote a St. Patrick's Day party at the club in March 2014.

The club "gained an economic windfall by using the images of professional and successful models for (its) own commercial purposes, luring and enticing patrons worldwide to view the images and visit Deja Vu, without having to compensate the models a single penny for such usage," the suit says.

The plaintiffs "sustained injury" to their images and brands, the suits says, with Edmondson experiencing the most in "actual damages" at $650,000, the suit says.

The suit seeks a total of $3.99 million in damages from Deja Vu.

Representatives from Deja Vu in Tampa and Las Vegas, home of the Deja Vu adult entertainment chain, did not return requests for comment from the Tampa Bay Times. Deja Vu bills itself on its website as the "No. 1 erotic entertainment chain in the world."

Edmondson filed earlier suits over use of her image against a Long Island, N.Y., strip club and against the Caliente Resort and Spa in Land O' Lakes, a nude resort.

In June, Pepaj and two other models settled a 2016 federal lawsuit against The Gold Club, 6222 E Adamo Dr, just a few blocks west of Deja Vu. The Casas Law Firm also represented the plaintiffs in that case. Terms of the settlement were not included in court records.

The 2016 suit was one of four the Casas firm filed against Michael Tomkovich, president of Tampa Gold Club Inc., and four of his strip clubs in central Florida. A total of 17 models and actresses claimed Tomkovich pirated their images to promote the businesses.

In a statement then, Joseph Casas, the firm's chief litigator, said, "There is currently a pervasive custom and practice of imagery theft by these types of seedy establishments throughout the country and our clients will no longer tolerate this conduct."

Staff writer Paul Guzzo contributed to this report. Contact Dennis Joyce @djoyce@tampabay.com. Follow @DMPJoyce