The Inspirational Caylee Sunshine Doll
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline)-The makers of a doll in the likeness of slain Florida girl Caylee Anthony is being sued by the state attorney general, officials said Thursday.
Attorney General Bill McCollum has filed a lawsuit against an in-state company and its owner responsible for the marketing and selling dolls memorializing the three-year-old girl. The AG's office is also suing the company over its Michael Vick chew toys for dogs.
The lawsuit alleges that Showbiz Promotions, LLC, and its owner, Jaime Salcedo, intentionally misled the public into believing that by purchasing a doll or a chew toy they were helping worthy causes, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and local animal shelters.
In the case of the 18-inch, blonde Inspirational Caylee Sunshine Doll, Showbiz Promotions advertised that profits from the dolls' sales would go to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which helps find missing children and youths.
The attorney general alleges that Jacksonville promotion company has made just a $10 contribution to the Alexandria, Va.-based organization.
"This effort is outrageous and attempts to exploit the tragic murder of a child for personal benefit," said Ernie Allen, the organization's president and CEO. "NCMEC does not and will not ever be associated with any attempt to commercialize or raise money in connection with the victimization of any child."
The attorney general is asking a Duval County Circuit Court to issue a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants from operating their sales Web site and from further engaging in violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
"Any company that intentionally misleads innocent consumers to believe they are contributing to worthy charitable causes is absolutely reprehensible," McCollum said in a statement. "It is disgusting that a company would exploit a tragic situation for personal gain."
McCollum, a Republican, is seeking civil penalties in the amount of $10,000 per willful violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony, 22, was charged in the death of her daughter even before skeletal remains were discovered in December near the Orlando, Fla., home where the toddler was living with her parents.
Casey Anthony faces charges of murder, child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and lying to investigators about her child's disappearance last year.
Vick, a former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, was sentenced in 2007 to 23 months in federal prison for his role in dogfighting and animal cruelty in Richmond, Va.
From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at firstname.lastname@example.org.