Those cadavers are mine, lawsuit alleges

Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:49pm EDT
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By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The owner of a popular collection of "high quality" cadavers has sued the manager of an exhibition at New York's South Street Seaport, seeking to prevent it from taking control of the bodies.

The lawsuit by Premier Exhibitions Inc, which stages human anatomy displays in U.S. and Canadian cities under the banner "Bodies ... The Exhibition," stems from more than $1 million of profits and licensing fees it says it is owed by Jam Exhibitions LLC, which promoted the New York display.

According to the lawsuit, Jam was removed as the New York promoter on July 20 and has said it has "insufficient funds" to pay what Premier is owed.

Atlanta-based Premier also said that, in light of Jam's removal, the exhibition manager Running Subway LLC has no legal right to continue managing the exhibition.

The lawsuit seeks to recover compensatory and punitive damages, remove Running Subway as manager, prevent Running Subway from "unlawfully possessing the specimens on display," and other remedies.

Jam, based in Chicago, did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. A lawyer for Running Subway did not immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment.

According to the "Bodies ... The Exhibition" website, the displays feature "actual human specimens" that allow viewers "to peer inside yourself, to better understand how your elaborate and fascinating body works," and to help people become "more informed" about their own health care.

Tickets are also being sold for similar Bodies displays in Atlanta; Las Vegas; Quebec City; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The case is Premier Exhibitions Inc v. Jam Exhibitions LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), No. 09-6780.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Andre Grenon)