With the state teetering on economic Gotterdammerung and its water supplies evaporating by the week, it's comforting to know that we can rely on silly lawsuits to keep on proliferating. Readers will remember how Millennium Films, the makers of Righteous Kill, last year's car bomb starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, accused watchmaker Tutima USA of reneging on a product-placement agreement. Tutima was to pay $50,000 to have its Fleiger Chronograph F2 star in a close-up on Pacino's wrist. Apparently last January the check was still in the mail, prompting Millennium to sue.

Unlike the film, the lawsuit did not go straight to video. Today it surfaced in Superior Court Judge William Fahey's courtroom. Fahey referred the dispute to a mediator and asked lawyers for both sides to return September for a status report. In March, Pacino and DeNiro sued Tutima and film distributor Overture for giving the impression the actors were pitchmen for the watches.

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