Katherine Heigl attends 'united4:humanity' at Sony Pictures Studios in February 2014 in Culver City, California.

Story highlights

Actress accuses Duane Reade of misappropriating her image

Money she receives would go to a charity created in the memory of Heigl's brother

The photo showed Heigl apparently leaving a Duane Reade

The drugstore chain declined to comment on the lawsuit

CNN  — 

Actress Katherine Heigl wants a drugstore chain to pay her $6 million because it tweeted a photo of her shopping there.

Heigl filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday accusing Duane Reade of misappropriating her image, published on a celebrity news website to promote its stores.

If she wins, the judgment proceeds would go to a charity Heigl created in the memory of her brother who died in a car crash as a teen, the lawsuit said.

The legal controversy started when the Duane Reade Twitter account posted a link to a JustJared.com story about Heigl signing with a new management agency on March 18. The story featured a photo showing Heigl, who starred on “Grey’s Anatomy,” carrying two plastic Duane Reade bags as she appeared to be leaving one of its stores.

The tweet read, “Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even @KatieHeigl can’t resist shopping #NYC’s favorite drugstore”

Duane Reade’s Facebook page also carried the photo with the caption, “Don’t you just love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even Katherine Heigl can’t resist shopping at #NYC’s most convenient drugstore!”

“Use of Plaintiffs image under these circumstances improperly exploited Plaintiffs name and likeness, as a celebrity, for Defendant’s commercial advertising and purposes of trade, without authorization,” the suit contends. “Such use was done knowingly and willfully, as evidenced by Defendant’s manipulation of and changes to the Duane Reade advertising messages in the captions, after Defendant had intentionally stripped out all evidence of the original news context to the Heigl Photograph.”

A spokesman for Duane Reade said the company has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. Its lawyers have not filed a response in court.

CNN’s Rachel Wells contributed to this report.