Supreme Court Vacates Trial Court’s Order Denying Motion to Dismiss Suit Against “Borat”; Forum Selection Clause Valid

In Ex parte Sacha Baron Cohen, [Ms. 1061288] (Ala. Jan. 18, 2008), the Alabama Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion, vacated the trial court’s order denying the motion to dismiss filed by  Sacha Baron "Borat" Cohen and other defendants.  The suit arose from the Plaintiff’s participation in the film "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit of Glorious Kazakhstan." The Plaintiff, an etiquette teacher featured in the film, signed a forum selection clause providing that any suit must be filed in New York.

The trial court had declared the forum selection clause invalid pursuant to Alabama’s "door closing" statute because one of the signatories was not qualified to do business in Alabama.  The Supreme Court vacated the order, and held that the "door closing" statute did not apply because the transaction (i.e. the film)  involved interstate commerce.  Therefore, the forum selction clause was valid.

Mr. Cohen and other defendants were represented by William Brooks, Banks Sewell and Gray Borden of Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC.

Click the links for news articles on this opinion:

"’Borat’ Actors Wins Ala. Case Over Movie" – AP

"Borat has last laugh after lawsuit fails" – Sydney Morning Herald

"Court Backs Borat" – New York Times