‘Girls Gone Wild’ Creator |Must Pay $3M Judgment

     (CN) — “Girls Gone Wild” creator Joe Francis must pay more than $3 million to a woman whose driver’s license was flashed by a topless teen in one of his films, a federal judge ruled.
     Eight years ago, The New York Times reported that the state’s then-governor, Eliot Spitzer, had “been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute.”
     Spitzer resigned two days later on March 12, 2008.
     “Girls Gone Wild” owner Joseph Francis reportedly offered the “prostitute,” Ashley Dupre, $1 million to do a magazine spread and join a promotional tour with the franchise.
     But when Francis found archived footage of Dupre from five years earlier, when she joined a “Girls Gone Wild” bus tour for a week, he took back his offer.
     Dupre, in turn, filed a $10 million federal suit in Florida against Francis, alleging she was only 17 during the tour, so she did not understand the implications of signing any legal release.
     Francis reportedly responded by releasing a video in which a 17-year-old Dupre, covered only in a towel, provides consent to be in “Girls Gone Wild,” states that she is 18, and provides her name as Amber Arpaio, giving a close-up view of a New Jersey driver’s license in that name.
     Shortly afterward, Dupre voluntarily dismissed her suit against Francis.
     Arpaio then sued Dupre, Francis, and his companies, Mantra Films Inc. and MRA Holding LLC on July 11, 2008, seeking compensatory and punitive damages for invasion of privacy, misappropriation and unauthorized use of her name, defamation, and conspiracy.
     The court entered a default judgment against Francis and his companies on March 3, 2011, but the Third Circuit vacated it two years later.
     Years of litigation continued, with Francis stating in March 2015, that he could not attend his deposition in person because he now resides in Mexico and no longer has a U.S. passport.
     Francis also refused to produce related documents, and threatened to move for a protective order in California if Arpaio’s counsel did not agree to his requests within 24 hours.
     After Francis followed through on that threat, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois Goodman recommended denying Francis’ motion and granting Arpaio’s motion for sanctions Sept. 9, 2015.
     The court adopted the report and ruled in Arpaio’s favor in December, imposing personal jurisdiction against Francis.
     On June 13, U.S. District Judge Peter Sheridan re-entered the default judgment vacated by the Third Circuit, and found Francis in contempt of court.
     The court ordered a $3 million judgment against Francis and his companies.
     Sheridan also granted Arpaio’s application for $50,655 in legal fees and costs.
     The judge ordered Arpaio to provide a current and accurate address, or else receive an arrest warrant.
     Arpaio’s attorneys, Robert Dunn with Hanlon, Dunn and Robertson in Morristown, N.J. and Joseph Fell in Bernardsville, N.J., did not respond to requests for comment from Courthouse News on Tuesday.
      Neither did Dupre’s attorney, Cathy Waldor, of Waldor and Carlesimo in Manasquan, N.J., nor Ronald Tym, who defended the deposition Francis skipped in March 2015.

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