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Ashton Kutcher Sues DMV Over Reality Show

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By Andrew Lu on June 21, 2012 2:45 PM

Who really wants to watch a reality television show based on the comings and goings at the DMV?

Apparently, Ashton Kutcher believes a lot of people do as he sought to create a reality show centered on the Department of Motor Vehicles in California.

But with the state department backing out last minute, Ashton Kutcher sues DMV seeking damages and costs.

Ashton Kutcher's television production company, Katalyst Media, wants $1.44 million from the DMV. Katalyst is behind TV shows like "Punk'd," "Beauty and the Geek," and "True Beauty" and claims the DMV breached a contract that would have allowed the television producers to have access to the DMV, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Katalyst said it first negotiated the contract with the DMV in 2010, and the company would have had access "to capture the variously humorous, emotional, dramatic, moving, humanizing and entertaining situations that arise on a daily basis at DMV's offices," reports the Times. The DMV allegedly executed a formal written contract with Katalyst in May 2011.

However, just a few weeks after signing the agreement, Katalyst claims that the DMV "abruptly and without justification," breached the contract by backing out saying that it was not in the "best interests" of the agency to be involved in the reality show. So Ashton Kutcher sues DMV for damages.

A signed contract is generally binding. If two parties agree to perform a certain act and there is money at stake, the party in breach of the contract may be liable for damages incurred by the other party. However, the DMV is a state agency, and there may some issues related to collecting from the government, regardless of liability. For example, the agency may enjoy government or sovereign immunity leaving Katalyst Media with no recourse.

Ashton Kutcher sues DMV for $1.44 million for balking on a contract for a DMV-based reality show. It'll be interesting to see if Kutcher can collect from the economically challenged state.

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