Judge denies motion to dismiss Mercedes lawsuit against artists whose murals appeared in ads

Automaker sued after artists complained

DETROIT – A judge denied a motion Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit Mercedes-Benz filed against artists whose murals appeared in the automaker's ads.

The company posted ads to its Instagram that featured its cars in front of murals.

When several artists, including Detroit artist James "Dabls" Lewis, complained about the use of the art in the ads, the automaker sued them.

"It's funny -- you're suing me for using my work in your advertisements. That's a new one," Lewis said.

Mercedes is suing to show that it is able to use the murals in its ads.

While Judge Avern Cohn didn't dismiss the lawsuit, he did say, "These murals have a uniqueness... They are works of art and they are entitled to protection."

The artists' attorney, Jeffrey Gluck, argued that the case has big implications for outdoor art around the world.

"What's to stop companies from following around artists and pillaging these works of art at will?" he said.

About the Authors:

Jason Colthorp

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Amber Ainsworth

Amber is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Journalism and Screen Studies degree. She is a writer and photographer who covers music and local beer, when she's not covering news. Amber is also a member of the Michigan National Guard.