The Alabama Supreme Court has sided with Borat. Kathie Martin, the owner of the Etiquette School of Birmingham, lost her case against Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat, and Twentieth Century Fox Films, at least in Alabama. Based upon the standard consent agreement signed by Martin before she was filmed with Cohen, Martin agreed to be bound by New York venue.
The trial court had ruled that the agreement was void, but the Supreme Court of Alabama disagreed, and said the dispute should be resolved in New York. This is an example of why you should have an attorney review legal documents before you sign them. Maybe Ms. Martin should have asked more questions about the provisions such as the venue of New York as well as the provisions which gave the producer the ability to use the footage “‘without restriction in any media throughout the universe.’” The contract also had Martin agree that she “wouldn’t bring lawsuits arising from ‘surprise about the film.’” Wouldn’t that make a reasonable person somewhat suspicious?
Source: Saturday, January 19 Birmingham News