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Wife sues miner's brother, tabloid over hospital photo

From Maria Gavrilovic
CNN

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Industrial Accidents
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The wife of the lone survivor of the Sago mine tragedy has sued his brother and the National Enquirer over the publication of a hospital room photograph showing Randy McCloy on life support.

Matthew McCloy took the photograph of his comatose brother for the supermarket tabloid. He was paid $800.

The suit, filed last week by Anna McCloy, alleges that Randy McCloy's privacy was invaded by the publication of the photograph.

It charges that the tabloid and Matthew McCloy are "liable for injury to his dignity, reputation and person, and for punitive damages."

The National Enquirer provided Matthew McCloy with a camera, paid him $800 and asked him to take the photo, the suit charges.

"At the time, (Randy McCloy) was connected to the various devices sustaining his life, unconscious, and unable to consent to having his photograph taken," the suit says.

The suit, filed Friday in Taylor County, West Virginia, does not spell out how much money is being sought "for general, special and/or punitive damages in an amount to be proven at trial."

The tabloid said it acted lawfully in obtaining the photo.

"Matthew McCloy's intent in cooperating with the story was to call attention to the very serious issue of mine safety -- a view fully supported by the National Enquirer," the tabloid said in a written statement. "No one intended to do anything to harm Randal McCloy."

Matthew McCloy could not be reached.

The photo was first published on the January 16 cover of the National Enquirer and republished two weeks later as "part of an advertisement soliciting subscriptions to the newspaper," the suit says.

Anna McCloy's attorneys had asked the National Enquirer not to publish the photograph, but the "very next day" the photo appeared on its cover, the court papers say.

Randy McCloy, 26, and 12 other miners became trapped in the mine after an explosion and fire early January 2.

McCloy was rescued after 41 hours in the mine, but his 12 colleagues died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

McCloy suffered serious organ and brain damage.

Doctors have been cautiously optimistic about his progress, saying he has gone from being comatose to moving all his limbs, making sounds and even standing up with assistance in less than a month.

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