Bangalore: A libel case in the U.S. has been won with the help of legal expertise outsourced from India. Lawyers at Mysore-based SDD Global Solutions a Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) firm drafted the motion papers and conducted legal research for this case in Los Angeles. The litigation was against 'Da Ali G Show' produced by HBO starring Sacha Baron Cohen. "Most of the paperwork for this case was done in India," says Padmavathi Shanthamurthy, who led the team in Mysore.
The case was filed by the plaintiff after she watched the video on Youtube, uploaded from a Finnish Television Channel. "The program was licensed to Channel 4 and we were representing Channel 4," said Shanthamurthy. According to Shanthamurthy, the lady who had previously filed a couple of lawsuits against HBO was claiming in this case that Cohen, whom she claimed to have known earlier, had libeled her while playing the character Ali G.
The plaintiff had claimed that during the show, Cohen had said that he had been having an affair with her. The defense argued that the statement was made by a fictional character and this cannot be considered for any legal action as per the California and U.S. constitutional law. Shanthamurthy says, "This whole thing was a joke, a comedy should be taken in context and the actor never comes out of his character throughout the show." The decision in the case has resulted in protection to comedians, comedy writers, broadcasters and producers.
The team in Mysore consisting of five lawyers was supervised by a U.S. Attorney Russell Smith. They had worked on this historic case on a cheaper rate compared to their counterparts in U.S. The case is one of the first 'libel-in-fiction' cases in the context of television and it is also the first time that a major U.S. media litigation has been outsourced to India. "It was really exciting to work on this case and we had to do a lot of research", says Shanthamurthy. The LPO firms in India have been drafting a brief for many cases in the U.S.