BEAUMONT – An area teacher is suing the makers of TruTV, alleging he was embarrassed on national television following his arrest for public intoxication.
Identified as “John Doe” in the suit, the plaintiff filed suit against John and Morgan Langley, Langley Productions and Courtroom Television Network (TruTV) on June 17 in Jefferson County District Court.
The plaintiff alleges the defendants intentionally took advantage of him by filming him while he was being booked and processed at a Travis County detention center, editing the footage to portray him in a negative light and then airing the ordeal on national television.
The episode aired in May of 2016. And even though Doe "politely" asked the defendants to stop, they “ignored his requests and continued to use Plaintiff's name and likeness to increase their pocket books,” the suit states.
Starting in 2007, the defendants began filming private citizens while they were being booked and processed for allegedly committing criminal offenses, turning the booking process into a reality show called Jail. The series was created and produced by John Langley and his son, Morgan Langley.
Jail ultimately ended up airing on truTV and Spike.
While in Austin on June 13, 2007, Doe was arrested for public intoxication. He was brought to a Travis County detention center where the arresting officer and other public officials treated him with respect, the suit states.
While making the show, the defendants allegedly “aggressively” approached Doe to have him sign a blanket authorization.
“Indeed, Defendants wanted to capitalize on Plaintiff's embarrassing moment and profit from it. Although Plaintiff was intoxicated at the time, Defendants nonetheless coerced him to sign their blanket authorization,” the suit states.
“Defendants' self serving, unconscionable ‘authorization’ provides no rights to Plaintiff and cannot be enforced.”
At the time of his arrest, Doe resided in Jefferson County and was employed as a high school principal. The suit says he has been a professional educator in Texas for more than 20 years, teaching physics, chemistry and biology.
“He is a productive member of society that made one mistake,” the suit states. “That one mistake is now being played across America.”
Does says his arrest came as a complete embarrassment to not only himself but his family, friends, and students as well. His wife and daughter have all seen the show.
“In fact, some of his students have also seen the show and asked him about it,” the suit states. “Since the initial airing, he continues to have difficulty with his career in education. Additionally, he continues to suffer humiliation and mental anguish due to the repeated exposure.
Does is alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, contending the defendants acted with malice, which entitles him to punitive damages.
He is represented by Cody Dishon, attorney for The Ferguson Law Firm in Beaumont.