Tat-2 the Bounty HunterThe reality TV show Tat-2 the Bounty Hunter went to court recently where the issue of venue was litigated, or almost litigated.

On April 12, 2012, Tat-2 arrested a suspect at the suspect’s home in Jefferson Parish. The full television crew was there to record the event. Tat-2 and his crew claimed the arrest was based on the suspect’s prosecution for possession of stolen things, while the suspect claimed his only crime was failure to show for a traffic ticket.

After the filming, the suspect signed a waiver in favor of the television show. Included in the waiver was an agreement that any disputes between the parties would be litigated in New York.

On September 12 of the same year the suspect filed suit in Jefferson Parish against the TV show and everyone involved with the show.  The suit claimed that the suspect suffered assault, battery, defamation and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  Included as defendants were Hook Em and Book Em Elite Fugitive Recovery which is Tat-2’s company along with Al Roker and Jennifer Lopez through their companies and Spike TV which is part of Viacom Media Networks. In other words, Suspect versus a lot of heavy hitters.

The Heavy Hitters filed an exception of improper venue claiming that Suspect should have filed his suit in New York, as the signed waiver required. A hearing on this exception was tried on August 30, 2013. After hearing the testimony, the trial court concluded that the waiver was not “procured by fraud, duress, or coercion” and therefore New York was the proper place for Suspect to sue the Heavy Hitters. Suspect then appealed the court’s ruling.

The appeals court rendered a ruling on November 25, 2014 and sent the case back to the trial court. The problem was that at the hearing on the exception, nobody properly introduced any evidence into the record for the appeals court to consider. At the hearing the Heavy Hitters referred to the signed waiver and to a DVD recording of the arrest. Everyone talked about those items, including the various lawyers for the Suspect and the Heavy Hitters, but apparently nobody remembered to file any of the exhibits into the record so the appeals court could review what everyone spent the hearing talking about.

Since the trial court ruled in favor of the Heavy Hitters based on evidence that was not properly introduced, the case was sent back to the trial court and is now waiting to be heard again.