A D.C. Superior Court jury yesterday awarded $350,000 to a 60-year-old Bethesda woman who complained that her privacy was invaded when pictures of her before and after plastic surgery were broadcast on television and shown to an audience at a department store lecture.
Mary Vassiliades filed suit against her plastic surgeon, Garfinckel's department store and a television station contending that she never consented to having the pictures shown and that she had been "held up to public scorn, obloquy, derision, contempt and loss of reputation" when they were shown to audiences in March 1979.
After a week-long trial, the jury yesterday agreed with her, awarding $100,000 in damages against the surgeon for the television broadcast and $250,000 against the surgeon and Garfinckel's for a lecture at the chain's downtown Washington store.
WTTG-TV (Channel 5), originally named as a codefendant in the case, was dismissed before the trial after arguing that the surgeon had told the station's personnel that Vassiliades had consented to having pictures of her face lift broadcast on its Panorama talk show.
Vassiliades said yesterday after the verdict, "I feel that I've been vindicated."
Attorneys for the surgeon, Csaba Magassy of Chevy Chase, and for Garfinckel's declined to comment on the case. Both have filed motions to dismiss the case.
Vassiliades testified she had undergone plastic surgery during treatment with Magassy over an eight-month period in 1978. She acknowledged at the trial that she allowed photos of her to be taken but said she thought that was only "the routine."
Magassy said Vassiliades had agreed orally to have her pictures displayed, and that he "was aghast" when Vassiliades filed suit. "I thought we had a wonderful rapport. She never said, 'Do not show them on television.' "