Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Borat Sued Again

The producers of Borat will be defending against another lawsuit.  Another disgruntled individual, duped by the producers of the smash hit film, is fighting back.  The producers make my teeth grind with statements such as this:

"He signed a release, and we have an agreement," [producer] Brilliant said. "Now, 2 1/2 years after giving his consent and more than one year after the movie was released, Mr. Psenicska has decided to file a lawsuit, citing the financial success of the film, in spite of our agreement."

First, there's a statute of limitations involved: probably 3 years.  Mr. Psenicska likely filed suit in order to preserve his claim against the producers.  Allowing the statute to run would negate any legal standing he has.

Second, Mr. Psenicska signed an agreement to be in a documentary about foreign born people adjusting to life in America, and this is clearly not the film Mr. Brilliant or the other producers of Borat planned to make.  The producers lied in order to coerce cooperation from Mr. Psenicska, because if he had been in on the joke, it would never have been as funny as his reactions were while being duped.

Other filmed entertainment has met this same litigious fate.  Candid Camera was sued.  More recently, Scare Tactics was sued.  I don't know, but I imagine there are bad feelings and billable hours concerning Punk'd. 

You can't lie to people to induce them to sign a contract.  You don't even have to go to law school to know that one.  If Mr. Psenicska was not fully informed, he could not have made an informed choice entering into the agreement.  The contract is null and void.  If he suffered damages, he deserves to be made whole. 

All Mr. Psenicska is asking for is $100K plus punitive damages (which are usually less--but this is likely a California venue, so who knows?)  That's chump change.  Mr. Brilliant complains that it was only because Borat was successful that Mr. Psenicska is suing.  Well, that stands to reason that the more successful the movie was, the more people saw it, and thus the more damage was done to Mr. Psenicska.  I see no profiteering motive here since the damages prayed for in the lawsuit are so freaking LOW.  Because the damages are so low, I imagine the case will settle and quickly.

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