Girls Gone Wild founder cleared in civil case

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — An all-woman federal jury has decided that Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis is not liable for the emotional distress four anonymous plaintiffs claimed to have suffered after appearances in one of his videos.

The verdict came Thursday following an eight-day trial in Panama City in the Florida Panhandle. The jury of eight women began deliberating a day earlier.

The four plaintiffs sued in March 2008 using only their initials. They are now adults but were all under 18 when they appeared in the video.

The lawsuit claimed Francis exploited them by filming them flashing their breasts and engaging in other sexual activities in Panama City. It also claimed the women were ridiculed, ostracized and forced to leave school when videos were released.

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