A Tennessee couple whose son was killed in Iraq want an Arizona merchant to pay more than $40 billion in damages to survivors of U.S. soldiers whose names are on the antiwar shirts he sells online.
A complaint seeking class-action status for a lawsuit by Robin and Michael Read says that Dan Frazier has no right to profit from the sale of products that use the dead soldiers’ names without permission.
The change in status, requested in federal court in Tennessee, would cover the heirs of all U.S. service members killed in the Middle East since Sept. 11, 2001, and seeks $4 billion in compensatory damages and $36.5 billion of punitive damages. The original lawsuit named only the Reads as plaintiffs and sought $10 million in damages.
Frazier’s “Bush lied -- They died” T-shirts, sold at his website CarryaBigSticker.com, list Iraq war casualties’ names. Frazier asserts that he is protected by the 1st Amendment.
Frazier will ask that the suit be transferred to the federal court in Arizona, which has begun considering a challenge to a state law barring use of slain U.S. soldiers’ names for commercial purposes without permission, said his attorney, Lee Phillips.