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Effectively ordering a lawyer to get a sense of humor, a federal judge has dismissed a defamation suit brought by the former general counsel of a health-care company who said he was ridiculed in a humorous videotape that marked his company’s merger with a California firm.

In the suit, attorney Thomas J. Karl claimed that while most of the eight-minute video, titled “Merge Wars,” was intended to be funny, the 7.5-second portion that referred to him turned suddenly serious, using a clip of bank robbers from the movie Raising Arizona to suggest that he had earned unethically huge profits in the deal.

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