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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 February 2005, 14:32 GMT
Model wins huge Nestle jar payout
Sign outside Nestle headquarters in Switzerland (file)
Nestle used Mr Christoff's image on coffee jars sold across the world
A US jury has ordered food giant Nestle to pay $15.6m (8.3m) to a former model whose image was used for years without his permission on coffee jar labels.

Russell Christoff, 58, from California, came across his likeness on a Taster's Choice jar while out shopping in 2002.

A Los Angeles court heard he had posed for a two-hour photo shoot for Nestle in 1986 but had heard nothing since.

Nestle USA plans to appeal against the award, which includes 5% of profits for Taster's Choice from 1997 to 2003.

During that period, jars featuring Mr Christoff's image were sold as far afield as South Korea, Japan and Kuwait, as well as in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Supermodel rates

The Los Angeles County Superior Court jury ordered Nestle USA, a division of Switzerland's Nestle SA, to pay out after deciding it used Mr Christoff's image without his permission and profited from it.

Mr Christoff had previously turned down a $100,000 (53,000) settlement offer from the company. Nestle USA in turn declined his offer to settle for $8.5m (4.5m).

Lawrence Heller, a lawyer for Nestle USA, said the company would appeal against the jury's verdict.

He said the employee who had used the ex-model's image had done so believing consent had been given.

Mr Christoff's lawyer said his client had not expected such a large award.

The payout compares well with the rates top supermodels can expect.

Linda Evangelista famously said she would not wake up for less than $10,000 a day, while Forbes magazine put Cindy Crawford's 2001 earnings at $6.3m.

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