New 'Borat' Plaintiff Just Wants His MoneyWed Dec 12, 2007 @ 06:02PM PST
Posted by Matthew Heller
The latest "Borat" plaintiff is taking a slightly different approach from the many other allegedly unwitting foils of the film's Kazakh interviewer. Michael Psenicska, a Maryland driving instructor, isn't saying the film invaded his privacy or depicted him in a false light. He wasn't embarassed or humiliated. The fraud suit he filed Nov. 30 in Manhattan federal court basically boils down to the allegation that he should have gotten more -- a lot more -- than the $500 that the "Borat" producers paid him.
"Equity warrants that plaintiff receive substantial compensation from defendants for the use of his likeness in the Borat film," the complaint says.
According to the suit, "Borat" producers duped Psenicska into giving the title character a driving lesson by telling him they were making a "legitimate documentary." He signed a release to appear in the film and was paid the $500, but is suing for fraudulent inducement damages and a declaration that the release is null and void.
"He maintained his dignity rather well," plaintiff's counsel Peter M. Levine of New York told the Baltimore Sun. "Our argument is that he should be paid for his services in the movie."
Levine didn't mention that the statute of limitations on any claims for defamation or invasion of privacy has expired, perhaps precluding Psenicska from filing anything but a fraud claim.