2 Lawsuits Against Joe Francis Dropped

Joanne Cachapero
PENSACOLA, Fla. — Two lawsuits filed against "Girls Gone Wild" (GGW) founder Joe Francis have been withdrawn from federal court in Florida.

Heather Marie Kotis, Rachel Christine Mill, Julie Tilton, Nicole Breitfeller and Tabitha Gautreaux had alleged that Francis’ Mantra Films, producers of GGW, had taped them during a wet T-shirt contest in 2001 and then distributed the tape for sale.

The women filed suit also against the Daytona Beach, Fla., hotel where the event was held, a corporate sponsor, the promoter of the event, a video company that filmed the event and Mantra Films.

However, the cases were ordered closed allegedly because the plaintiffs were never able to identify a GGW title that contained the alleged footage.

“It's apparent that a certain segment of our society has adopted a get rich quick scheme through frivolous litigation,” Francis's attorney David R. Houston said. “We are pleased the court in this matter refused to issue the plaintiffs a golden ticket based upon plaintiffs' actions and misrepresentations.”

In a related case, the plaintiffs filed suit against Playboy magazine, which allegedly photographed and distributed images of the event. However, in that case, the judge ruled in favor of Playboy, which then resulted in the women asking for a stay in the suit against Mantra Films. Eventually, a judge motioned to close the lawsuits.

The court’s action follows closely on the heels of two other lawsuits against Francis being dropped.

Christina Brose and Brooke Patsolic dropped their cases against the GGW owner two weeks ago after alleging that their images had been used without permission, when footage of them appeared in a GGW tape.

Francis responded to the charges by posting video of the plaintiffs on his website, MeetJoeFrancis.com. In the footage, the women appear to give their consent to being filmed while dancing at a nightclub and also in the GGW recreational vehicle, where they kiss and strip down to their underwear.

A veritable magnet for legal action, Francis is currently incarcerated in the Reno, Nev., jail, charged with tax evasion.

On his website, on the “You Be the Judge” page, where he featured the video of Brose and Pastolic, he currently has posted documentation Tranae Hammond vs. Mantra Films, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Hammond filed suit against Francis on charges of sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, battery, sexual battery and emotional distress.