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Don't blame 'Punk'd,' MTV lawyers say

Jan. 23, 2004 at 2:34 PM

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A Washington, D.C., couple has implicated MTV's "Punk'd" in its lawsuit against actor Ashton Kutcher, citing the show's antics as evidence of negligence.

James and Laurie Ryan are suing for millions of dollars after a January 2002 incident in which they found what appeared to be a murdered body upon check-in at their Las Vegas hotel room. The scene was being recorded by hidden cameras for an MTV pilot titled "Harrassment," which never aired, but was in pre-production by Kutcher.

The similarity between "Punk'd" and "Harrassment" has prompted the Ryans to use examples of "Punk'd" programming as evidence of Kutcher's, and MTV's, ongoing negligence regarding programming, the Smoking Gun Web site reported Friday.

MTV lawyers maintain that the Ryans should not be allowed to "bootstrap their claims to the notoriety surrounding a different show."

A judge in Los Angeles, where the suit is filed, disagreed, ruling that he would not limit the Ryans from attempting to introduce evidence regarding "Punk'd" and the shared lineage of the two shows.

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