Ashton Kutcher's production company is suing California's Department of Motor Vehicles for $1.44 million, claiming that it breached a contract that would have allowed the firm to film a reality TV show about the state agency inside its facilities.
The DMV has not commented about the lawsuit, which the actor's firm, Katalyst Media, filed at a Los Angeles court on Tuesday. There are approximately 23 million licensed drivers in California, the most populated U.S. state, according to the DMV's website, Without making an appointment, customers often have to wait inside its offices for hours to carry out their business.
"The series was conceived and designed to capture the variously humorous, emotional, dramatic, moving, humanizing and entertaining solutions that arise on a daily basis at DMV's more than 170 offices across the state of California," states the complaint, which was obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com.
Katalyst, which also produced Kutcher's hit MTV prank show "Punk'd," claims that in June 2010, the DMV made a commitment in writing to collaborate with the company on the new reality show.
It says that in May 2011, the parties had a written agreement that called for the DMV to allow Kutcher's company access to its "various facilities and personnel in California" that summer and fall for "the purpose of filming four initial episodes," or "specials" for the reality series, "involving the day-to-day activities between DMV employees and its customers."
Kutcher's company says it had an agreement with the cable channel TruTV to air four half-hour episodes of the show and that the firm "spent literally hundreds of thousands of dollars" on pre-production costs.
"Despite this, just six weeks after signing its agreement, DMV abruptly and without justifiable excuse, changed course," Katalyst's lawsuit says, adding that one of its producers then received a "five-sentence letter" letter from DMV Deputer Director Mike Marando that said that the agency "no longer considered the series to be in its 'best interests' and would therefore 'not be moving forward on such a project."
Kutcher's company claims claiming that its parties have suffered damages valued at "no less than 1.44 million."
(Pictured above: Ashton Kutcher appears on the ABC show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on March 27, 2012.)