And now, an update on what the "Above the Law" blog refers to as "the rapidly growing practice area of Boratlaw." As
production counsel for "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make
Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," it is my distinct pleasure to
report that the last three of the lawsuits by people in the film have been
dismissed. In a decision by United States District Judge Loretta
Preska, which you can read by clicking here,
the federal court in Manhattan threw out the claims of the two Alabama
etiquette coaches, the Alabama dinner guests, and the Maryland driving
instructor. This follows other victories, in courts across the
country, against claims by the South Carolina frat boys, the fleeing
New York hedge fund manager, the two Romanian villagers, and the South
Carolina toilet man. In Sacha Baron Cohen's hysterical acceptance speech
upon receiving Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy, he said, among other
things, "I want to thank everyone in America who hasn't sued us yet."
Last year, I had the strange experience of flying to Los Angeles from India to attend a packed forum of several hundred media and entertainment lawyers organized by the Beverly Hills Bar Association. The event was amusingly titled, "This Release Is Binding....Nottt!" At the forum, the general counsels of the ABC and CBS television networks debated the lawyer for the frat boy plaintiffs, regarding the validity of the Borat consent agreement that I drafted for the Borat participants to sign. The BHBA will need to change the title for the next forum. How about "These Lawsuits Have Legs....Nottt!"
In throwing out the last of the claims, Judge Preska upheld the validity of the consent agreement, just like all of the other judges have done. The Court went on to note as follows:
its core..., Borat attempts an ironic commentary on 'modern' American
culture, contrasting the backwardness of its protagonist with the
social ills that afflict supposedly sophisticated society. The movie
challenges its viewers to confront not only the bizarre and offensive
Borat character himself, but the equally offensive and bizarre
reactions he elicits from 'average' Americans."
Hmmm. In any event, it seems that another backward, offensive, and bizarre protagonist,
President Bush, might be a closet Borat fan. The day after Judge
Preska's decision, he nominated her for a position on the United States
Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Finally, on the subject of "legal process outsourcing," as always, I want to put in a plug for the team of Indian lawyers at SDD Global Solutions in Mysore, who put in hundreds of hours in the multi-faceted field of Boratlaw. Congrats also to Hogan Hartson, which expertly handled the New York litigation.