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Girls Gone Wild Scores Another Legal Victory

Judge Lawrence K. Sawyer, presiding in an action in the California Superior Court, Santa Rosa, dismissed a lawsuit filed in June 2003 by Christine Delamontanya claiming that Mantra Films, Inc. and Joseph Francis, its President, were liable for the inclusion of her images in a “Girls Gone Wild” videotape.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Delamontanya, suing as “Jane Doe,” claimed that the use of her likeness in “Girls Gone Wild Doggy Style”, a one-hour film consisting of segments of men and women celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans, constituted an invasion of her privacy and unlawful misappropriation of her likeness. Ms. Delamontanya is shown in the videos, and in commercials for the videos, standing on a balcony above a public street at Mardi Gras 2002. In the midst of a large group of men and women, both on the balcony and in the street below, Ms. Delamontanya is seen unclasping her bra and exposing her breasts. As a multitude of light bulbs flash and other lighting is directed toward her, she is seen dancing and smiling and allowing a man next to her to fondle her breasts, to the apparent delight of those around her.

In granting the motion by Mantra and Francis for a dismissal of the lawsuit, Judge Sawyer ruled that the defendants’ actions in the filming of the plaintiff and their subsequent distribution and sale of the documentary were in furtherance of their constitutional rights of free speech and expression. The court also held that the defendants’ filming and distribution of the documentary were in connection with matters of public interest. Lastly, Judge Sawyer ruled while the filming of Ms. Delamontanya’s conduct in front of the crowd and cameras did not require Mantra to seek her consent to be filmed or included in the videos, her actions clearly indicated her consent to the filming.

“Once again the courts have dismissed a suit against `Girls Gone Wild’ which was brought in our opinion for the sole purpose of seeking money from Mantra to which none of these plaintiffs were entitled,” said Mantra President Joe Francis. “Mantra will continue to vigorously defend against any frivolous actions and will seek full reimbursement of our attorney’s fees and costs.”

Both Mantra Entertainment and Joe Francis were represented in the case by attorney Ronald E. Guttman of the Los Angeles law firm of Richardson & Patel LLP.

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