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'Bumfights' Participant Sues

March 07, 2003|Anna Gorman | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Lawyers for a homeless man who appeared in the controversial "Bumfights" video have filed a civil suit against the filmmakers for violating the man's privacy.

Peter LaForte, 31, alleges in the lawsuit that the filmmakers did not get his permission to videotape him fighting with a 275-pound woman in October 2001 or to use the video for commercial purposes.

Attorney Mark Quigley said the video -- which was sold underground on the Internet and in stores for $20 -- caused his client "constant shame, embarrassment and humiliation."

The defendants "should not be allowed to profit from their wrongful conduct," said Quigley, who filed the suit Tuesday in San Diego Superior Court.

According to the suit, the woman approached LaForte and asked if he would participate in a videotaped fight. He declined, but the filmmakers taped them when the woman attacked LaForte and a fight ensued, the suit said. LaForte refused to sign a release.

Doug Gilliland, who represents the filmmakers in the civil suit, said, "I think that when the [filmmakers'] side of the story comes out, the civil case is going to go the same way of the criminal case."

In January, a San Diego Superior Court judge ruled that the filmmakers, Ryan McPherson, Zachary Bubeck, Daniel J. Tanner and Michael Slyman, would not face felony charges. They now face misdemeanor charges and are due in criminal court today.

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