Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Holmes Repairs to Court to Sue Star for Libel

Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes in Batman BeginsImage via WikipediaActress Katie Holmes, 32, whose five-year marriage to actor Tom Cruise--Hollywood's most famous Scientologist--has been fodder for supermarket tabloids, has filed a $50 million defamation suit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against Star Magazine's parent company, American Media, Inc., whose stable of publications also includes The National Inquirer.

The nine-page Complaint, Katie Holmes v. American Media, Inc. (Case No. 11-cv-01750) arises from a January 2011 front-page Star Magazine headline: "Addiction Nightmare, Katie Drug Shocker!" that trumpets an inside story on page 42 that never suggests the former Dawson's Creek actress is a drug user. Rather, as reported by Reuters and The Hollywood Reporter Web site THR, Esq,, the article alleges Holmes is "trapped in a cycle of addictive treatments" at Scientology counseling sessions that involve the use of a device called an "e-meter," that purportedly stimulates endorphin production through a low-level electrical current the tabloid likened to "an effect similar to heroin."

Plaintiff's counsel, while noting that strenuous exercise also stimulates endorphin production, accuse the Florida-based publisher of deliberately misleading the public with a bogus Page 1 headline creating the impression that the Batman Begins heroine is a substance abuser that most shoppers would not bother to learn was not the case by turning to page 42 of the magazine.

In addition to the $50 million damages claim, Holmes also is seeking punitive damages.  As a public figure, she'll have to prove actual malice, in other words, that Star Magazine knew the headline and accompanying story were false, or showed reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity.  Hanging the lawsuit on an inflammatory headline is a risky proposition for Holmes as courts have ruled libel actions are not supportable by snippets of statements taken out of context.

Some may argue that the amount of damages claimed evoke one of the Ohio-born actresses films, Mad Money.

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