BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The nine-member court sided with British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen on Friday in a lawsuit filed by etiquette teacher Kathie Martin, who unwittingly appeared in his hit movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."
The justices overruled a lower court and said Martin can't sue Cohen and the companies that produced the movie in Alabama because she signed an agreement stating only courts in New York could hear any disputes that arose from her appearance.
Martin did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Neither did a spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., which distributed the movie and was sued by Martin.
Several other people who appeared in the 2006 movie have filed suit claiming they were duped into appearing in the comedy, which grossed more than $200 million.
In the movie, Cohen plays a journalist from Kazakhstan traveling across the United States in search of Pamela Anderson. He gives out random high fives and says "Very nice!" all along the way, misunderstanding American culture at every stop.
During a segment in Alabama, Borat sought etiquette lessons from Martin and is shown in the movie presenting guests at a dinner party with a bag of human feces.
The Supreme Court was polite enough not to go into details of the dinner: "It is sufficient to say that an eventful meal ensued during which the alleged reporter engaged in behavior that would generally be considered boorish and offensive," wrote Justice Mike Bolin.
Martin sued Cohen, Twentieth Century, One America Productions Inc., Everyman Pictures, Dune Entertainment, MTV Networks, Comedy Central, Dakota North Entertainment Inc. and Four by Two Production Co., claiming she was embarrassed and humiliated by her encounter with Borat.
A lower court sided with Martin in April and let the case go forward. But the Supreme Court ruled that the agreement Martin signed specifying New York as the site for any disputes meant Alabama courts could not hear the case.
The justices sent the case back to a Jefferson County judge.
Others who have filed suit over the movie include South Carolina fraternity members, a Maryland driving instructor, Romanian villagers and a businessman who was shown fleeing from a hug from Cohen in New York.