Ashton Kutcher firm's suit against DMV may proceed, judge rules
Katalyst Media, behind TV shows such as "Punk'd," "Beauty and the Geek" and "True Beauty," is suing the state for $1.44 million, claiming it allowed the company access to the DMV to produce a half-hour reality show featuring daily life inside the state agency but then reneged on the deal.
Kutcher's company, which has also produced several movies, alleges breach of contract and cites money the company spent on preproduction.
After a tentative ruling Friday, Superior Court Michael Johnson on Monday officially allowed the case to move forward.
The suit filed by attorney Marty Singer's law firm on behalf of the company says Katalyst negotiated in 2010 with the DMV "to capture the variously humorous, emotional, dramatic, moving, humanizing and entertaining situations that arise on a daily basis" in DMV offices.
According to court papers, DMV Deputy Director Mike Mirando publicly acknowledged plans for the show in newspaper stories published in August. Based on the DMV agreement, Katalyst struck a deal with TruTV to broadcast the show, the lawsuit says.
But the lawsuit claims "just six weeks after signing its agreement, DMV abruptly and without justification, changed course. In a five-sentence letter to Katalyst producer Jason Goldberg, Mr. Mirando simply declared the DMV no longer considered the aeries to be in its 'best interests' and would therefore 'not be moving forward on such a project.' "
The DMV has declined to comment on the litigation. Another company that was working on the project, Soda & Pop Inc., also is suing the DMV.
Photo: Ashton Kutcher attends the 2011 GQ Gentlemen's Ball at the Edison Ballroom in New York. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press