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Woman suing TV producers over depiction on jail show

A woman who was arrested and taken to Clark County Jail on a day in 2010 when TV cameras were rolling is claiming that the producers behind the series “Inside American Jail” defamed her by calling her a “naughty girl” and used her likeness without permission. She is suing Langley Productions, the company behind the show, in federal court. The personal injury suit once again raises questions about the relationship between Langley Productions and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was arrested on suspicion of DUI and taken to the county jail on April 10, 2010. That day, a Langley Productions camera crew was filming activity at the jail for use on “Inside American Jail,” a program which airs on the cable network truTV. Producers included footage of the plaintiff being booked in jail on one of their episodes, but the plaintiff says she does not recall signing a release form giving the show permission to use her likeness. Her attorneys argue that, even if she did sign a release, her intoxicated state at the time invalidates the form because she would not have understood what she was signing.

The episode refers to the plaintiff as a “naughty girl,” which humiliated her, the lawsuit says. She also accuses workers at the jail of playing to the cameras by interrogating her instead of honoring her constitutional right to counsel.

The lawsuit also accuses Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie of trading access to the jail for $45,000 in campaign contributions from Langley Productions and related companies and individuals. Following Gillespie’s reelection in 2010, a Commission on Ethics panel investigated claims of the company’s undue influence over the sheriff but cleared Gillespie of wrongdoing.

The plaintiff is alleging defamation, unauthorized use of her likeness for commercial purposes, portrayal in a false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other things. She is seeking unspecified damages.

Langley Productions is perhaps best known as the producer of the long-running series “Cops.”

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “Woman described as ‘naughty girl’ on reality TV show files suit,” Steve Green, April 2, 2012

John P. Aldrich
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