Here's a suggestion for all would-be litigants: read the agreement you signed before you decide to sue someone. Lawsuits brought against the makers of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan by three individuals have been tossed out of court by a New York judge who said that "all three accepted money and signed agreements releasing the filmmakers from liability," according to an article by the Associated Press.

The lawsuits in question were initiated by a driving instructor and two etiquette schoolteachers. Judge Loretta Preska ruled that they all agreed to appear in a "documentary-style" movie. I'm sure the contract didn't say it would be a "documentary-style movie that might make you look like a fool," but I don't think the driving instructor, at least, came off that bad -- he looked sincerely helpful if befuddled, as I recall from my single viewing a long time ago. When Monika reported on the filing last December, she noted that he had been paid $500 in cash. He sued for $400,000.

Since its world premiere at the Toronto film festival two years ago, Borat has sparked so many lawsuits and rumors of lawsuits that it's difficult to keep them straight. There were the unhappy frat boys (later thrown out of court), someone who didn't even make the theatrical cut but was fearful about the DVD version, the man who ran away on the street, and probably others. The statute of limitations is longer than I thought it would be for this type of lawsuit.

categories Movies, Cinematical