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Florida Federal Court Closes Two Lawsuits Brought by Women Against Joe Francis

PENSACOLA, Fla. [PRNewswire] — Following the withdrawal in a Florida federal court two weeks ago of a case filed by two women against Girls Gone Wild and Joe Francis, another federal district court in Florida issued a closure in two other lawsuits brought by Heather Marie Kotis, Rachel Christine Mill, Julie Tilton, Nicole Breitfeller and Tabitha Gautreaux against Mantra Films and ordered that the cases be closed.

The women alleged that Mantra Films, which produces the wildly popular “Girls Gone Wild” videos, filmed the women during a daytime spring break wet T-shirt contest at a Florida hotel pool in 2001, and then distributed images of the women on a “Girls Gone Wild” (GGW) videotape. The women never identified a single GGW video containing their images.

Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis says that Girls Gone Wild never filmed these girls or included their images in any video! “This is yet another example of people trying to make money by bringing false and frivolous charges against Girls Gone Wild and me,” Francis says.

The case stems from an event held at a Daytona Beach hotel in 2001 that featured a wet T-shirt contest. The contest was held in the middle of the day in front of thousands of spectators, many of whom captured the contest on their cameras and videocameras. Images from the event taken by others make it apparent that contest participants knew they were being videotaped by numerous spectators. Nevertheless, the women filed suit against the hotel, a corporate sponsor, the promoter of the event, a video company that filmed the event and Mantra Films, asking for millions in damages.

In a companion case, summary judgment was granted in favor of several other corporate defendants including Playboy magazine, who the plaintiffs sought to find liable for publishing and distributing images of the event. Because the federal court found in favor of the defendants, the women agreed to stay their lawsuit against Mantra Films and the federal court ordered that the cases against Mantra Films be closed.

“It’s apparent that a certain segment of our society has adopted a get rich quick scheme through frivolous litigation,” say Francis’s attorney, David R. Houston. “We are pleased the court in this matter refused to issue the plaintiffs a golden ticket based upon plaintiff’s actions and misrepresentations.”

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