Archive for January, 2008

Borat Victory

January 19, 2008

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

Ford Wins

January 19, 2008

Ford won a products liability lawsuit in Henry County, Alabama on Tuesday, January 15, 2008.  The case arose from an accident which occurred in 2000 wherein a 28 year old woman, Pamela Jackson Davis, was thrown from the Ford Expedition.  According to the complaint, Ms. Jackson’s estate alleged that the seat belt and the glass were defective, and had they not been, Ms. Jackson would have survived the crash.  Ford, however, argued that she was not wearing her seat belt and that the glass was not defective.

Apparently, the jury agreed with Ford.  The attorney for Ford, Harlan Prater of the Birmingham law firm Lightfoot Franklin White, LLC, expressed sympathy for the family of Ms. Davis; however, he was glad to see the jury saw that the Ford Expedition was a good, safe vehicle.

This case is another example of juries getting it right.  When the jury rules in favor of the defendant, you don’t hear plaintiff attorneys complaining.  They know that their clients were given a fair shot at proving their case, and a jury of their peers made a decision.  When that happens, they live with the jury’s decision.  Why do businesses, corporations, insurance companies, etc. always say the jury got it wrong when they lose?  Some might call this being a sore loser.  I think, however, that these entities just don’t like it when twelve people rule that they did something careless, reckless, and wrong, and even worse, they cannot stand to lose money.  Follow the dollar.


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