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'Queen of Versailles' lawsuit still there, and getting bigger

Published July 6, 2012 12:22 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

You may remember back in January how the Sundance Film Festival and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield were facing a lawsuit over the pre-premiere descriptions of Greenfield's documentary "The Queen of Versailles" — a lawsuit filed by one of the movie's subjects, timeshare mogul David Siegel.

Six months later, and the lawsuit isn't going away, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

And while Sundance has been dropped as a defendant (because the "rags-to-riches-to-rags" description from the first Sundance Film Festival press releases came from Greenfield's producers, and was excised from later editions), Siegel and his company, Westgate, have added the film's distributors, Magnolia Pictures and Bravo, to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed before David Siegel and his wife Jacqueline had seen the movie (Jacqueline attended the Sundance premiere on Jan. 19), but the amended lawsuit indicates that he has seen it — and isn't happy, caling it "defamatory, derogatory and damaging" to his business.

As for adding Magnolia and Bravo to the lawsuit, the proposed amended complaint says, "at the time that Magnolia and Bravo entered into such agreements [to acquire rights], they knew or had reason to know that the film falsely depicts Westgate's financial status."

Greenfield's lawyers argue that the release forms Siegel signed require him to take any disputes to arbitration. Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter says, is trying to get around that by having Westgate, not himself, listed as the plaintiff.

"The Queen of Versailles" returns to Utah on Aug. 3, opening at the Broadway Centre Cinemas.