I wrote back in 2007 how Hollywood was outsourcing legal research, legal analysis, legal opinion and legal contract drafting services to India to lower the high costs of litigation. One of the cases I cited was how the India arm of UK Channel 4’s American counsel was outsourcing to rebut a defamation action against Da Ali G Show. Now those Indian lawyers have won the high-profile libel litigation in Los Angeles.
The lawsuit was filed against Sacha Baron Cohen, Channel 4 Television network, and HBO’s Da Ali G Show. Seems a woman (aka “Jane Doe”) who once knew the comedian claimed that Cohen, while playing the role of “Ali G”, libeled her by name during a spoof interview with historian Gore Vidal by claiming to have had sex with her. I’m told this was the first high profile U.S. media litigation in which the legal research and first drafts of the motion papers for the defense were completed entirely off-shore by Indian attorneys at a legal outsourcing company supervised by New York-based SmithDehn LLP.
Today’s LA Superior Court victory on the Ali G motion threw out the lawsuit. “No reasonable person could consider the statements made by Ali G on the program to be factual. To the contrary, it is obvious that the Ali G character is absurd, and all his statements are gibberish and intended as comedy… Altogether, the program is obviously a spoof of a serious interview program. No reasonable person could think otherwise.”
As one of the defense lawyers noted: “As so often happens in cases like this, the ‘chilling effect’ of the threat of substantial damages and significant legal costs, forces defendants to settle with plaintiffs who have no justifiable claim. However combining the skills and expertise of U.S. attorneys with U.S. law-trained Indian attorneys has proved to be an innovative and cost-effective way to fight and win the suit.”