Monday, December 23, 2013

UPDATE: Love Twibel Case Slated for January Trial

English: Courtney Love of Hole performing at S...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson last week denied a summary judgment motion by attorneys for Courtney Love, clearing the way for her to become the first celebrity to go through a twibel trial for her alleged defamatory statements against her former attorney, The Hollywood Reporter reported last week.

The 49-year-old Love, actress, chanteuse for Hole, widow of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, gossip column fodder and overall train wreck, was sued by attorney Rhonda Holmes, whose firm, Holmes & Gordon, represented Love in a 2008 fraud claim against Cobain's Estate, until Love terminated her (see "TUOL" post 5/27/11). The alleged defamatory tweet by Love: "I was f------ devestated [sic] when Rhonda J. Holmes esq. of San Diego was bought off @FairNewsSpears perhaps you can get a quote."

Judge Johnson rejected Love's attorneys' argument that the allegedly offensive statement constituted Internet rhetorical hyperbole/opinion and was incapable of a defamatory meaning. Likewise, Judge Johnson said defendant's claim that the statement did not identify the plaintiff law firm by name, an essential element of a defamation count, was an issue to be decided by a jury.

The plaintiff will have to satisfy the actual malice standard to sustain its twibel claim; in other words, that Love knew her accusation that the plaintiff firm was bribed was false or that she made the alleged claim with reckless disregard of its truth or falsity.

According to newspaper accounts, Love allegedly agreed to settle the suit for $600,000 and publish a retraction, but did not follow through. The case is set for trial January 13, 2014, barring a settlement.
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