Bid Lost to Have Farrell Sex Tape Suit Tossed
LOS ANGELES – Playboy magazine’s Miss January 2002 today lost a motion for dismissal of a lawsuit brought by actor Colin Farrell, who is seeking to prevent the distribution of a sex tape they made three years ago.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle ruled the lawsuit stated sufficient claims to go to trial on grounds of breach of oral contract, invasion of privacy, violation of common law right of publicity, unfair competition and unfair business practices.
Berle rejected defense arguments that Farrell’s lawyers were, in effect, making a copyright infringement claim that could not be supported by the law. He directed Narain’s attorneys to file an answer to the lawsuit.
Paul Berra, the 29-year-old Irish actor’s attorney, declined to comment on the outcome of today’s motion. However, he said in court that the case was never about copyright violations or it would have been brought in federal court.
Narain’s attorney, Leodis Matthews, said outside the courtroom that he was not surprised by the decision.
"The judge took the position we pretty much expected he would take, but we had to narrow down some of the issues," Matthews said.
Narain will not only file an answer to the lawsuit, but also a counterclaim seeking a definition from the judge of her rights in the case, Matthews said.
Matthews said Farrell is avoiding a deposition in the case that would clarify what his intentions were in making the tape with Narain. He said that at the end of the tape Farrell can be heard asking Narain what she wants to do with it.
Matthews said the value of the tape in terms of income to Narain could rival that of the Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee sex videotape. While on the Internet the Farrell-Narain tape had up to 3,700 hits per hour, he said.
Narain is challenging Farrell’s claim that they had an agreement to keep the tape private. She alleges that, as "co-creator" of the videotape, federal copyright law grants her the rights to reproduce, market and distribute it.
Farrell, the star of such films as "The New World," "Alexander" and the newly released "Ask the Dust," filed suit eight months ago, naming Narain along with Paul Nash, marketing director of the adult Web site company Internet Commerce Group, and celebrity porn broker David Hans Schmidt.
Although a restraining order has been in place since then, temporarily blocking public release of the 15-minute-long video, which shows Farrell and Narain engaged in various sex acts, it surfaced on the Internet for a brief period on Jan. 10.
Since the case was filed, other defendants have been added, including Narain’s friend, Candace Smith, a former model on "The Price Is Right," and several Internet site operators.
At an earlier hearing, the attorneys agreed to enter mediation to try to resolve the lawsuit before a July 17 trial date set by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu M. Berle.
The judge ordered mediation to wrap up by April 20 and set a post-mediation status conference for April 27.