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’Girls Gone Wild’ video maker appeals ruling

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The makers of the “Girls Gone Wild” video series are asking a Missouri appellate court to turn back a judge’s order that a woman who sued them should be granted a new trial.

A St. Louis jury last summer rejected the woman’s 2008 lawsuit claim that the video’s producers damaged her reputation by showing her tank top being pulled down by another person during a 2004 video shoot in a St. Louis bar, exposing her breasts. She was 20 at the time.

St. Louis Circuit Judge John J. Riley last November ordered a new trial, ruling that the jury’s finding was contrary to the weight of the evidence.

“It is clear from viewing the video that (the) plaintiff was an unwilling participant in the exposure of her breasts, and she can be seen visibly mouthing ‘no’ and she immediately covered herself up after her top was pulled down,” Riley wrote in the ruling favoring the woman, identified in court papers only as Jane Doe. “It is apparent that plaintiff did not consent to her bare breasts being filmed and used by defendants.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that the defendants, Mantra Films Inc. and MRA Holding LLC, are challenging Riley’s order for a new trial to the Missouri Court of Appeals, saying they expect to argue whether the trial court overstepped in granting the new trial. The woman lives in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles with her husband and children.

The woman’s attorney, Stephen Evans, said the appeal was not unexpected and that the appellate ruling could come in five or six months.

The woman sued after she became aware of her appearance in the video titled “Wild Sorority Orgy” after a friend of her husband’s told her that she was in it.

Testimony during the trial last summer keyed on consent. The defense claimed the woman silently approved by taking part in the party; the woman insisted she refused to give consent.

Jurors deliberated about an hour and a half before rejecting the woman’s case, with the panel’s foreman later telling a reporter that an 11-member majority decided that the woman had, in effect, consented. The case required agreement by at least nine of the 12 jurors.

The woman’s lawyers had sought about $5 million in damages, including $1.5 million they claimed the producers made on the video installment of a “Girls Gone Wild” series in which women are encouraged to expose themselves at parties.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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