- Journal Archives
- Volume 18
- Volume 17
- Volume 16
- Volume 15
- Volume 14
- Volume 13
- Volume 12
- Volume 11
- Volume 10
- Volume 9
- Volume 8
- Volume 7
- Volume 6
- Volume 5
- Volume 4
- Volume 3
- Volume 2
- Volume 1
Oops…they did it again. The Spears family (a.k.a. the consanguine of pop icon Ms. Britney Spears) has landed itself back in court, and back in the national news headlines this week. Cleverly coined “Britneygate,” the oh-so-entertaining dispute between Britney Spears’ mother, Lynne, and Britney’s ex-manager, Sam Lufti, is now set to play out in front of a California Court of Appeals.
In 2008, Lufti filed a defamation lawsuit against Lynne Spears for her damning portrayal of him in her memoir, “Through the Storm: A Real Story of Family and Fame in a Tabloid World.” [Didn't know Lynne Spears had a memoir? That makes two of us. The voracious bibliophile can order a copy for ten bucks here]. In the memoir, Spears describes Lufti as a “swarthy” man who is “evil” and a “predator.” She also accuses him of grinding up drugs and putting them in Britney’s food, hiding her beloved dog, and saying that “if [Lynne] tried to get rid of him, Britney would be dead and [he] would urinate on her grave.” Query whether Lynne could even make such things up . . .
Also in 2008, Lynne filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that her statements were mere opinions, and that Lufti’s reputation could not be ruined anymore than it already was due to his part in Britney’s infamous 2008 meltdown. Geez, Lynne, way to kick a guy when he’s down.
The Los Angeles Superior Court disagreed with Spears, apparently finding that Lufti’s reputation had not yet hit rock bottom, and denied the motion to dismiss the suit. The case is set to be heard by the Los Angeles Court of Appeals in the near future.
In his brief to the Court of Appeals, Lufti touts his clean criminal record and states that only a jury should decide the outcome of this case. The brief contains some fairly entertaining subparts, including a discussion of whether terms such as “evil” and “shifty” are opinions or descriptive of “acts of misconduct” that are actionable as libel.
All jokes about Britney’s torrid family life aside, there is an interesting legal issue at stake in this litigation. Can someone, particularly someone in the public eye, be “libel-proof”? In essence, was Lufti’s reputation so tainted before Lynne’s memoir hit the racks that he literally cannot succeed on a libel claim? Whether you care about the legal issues or merely enjoy the spectacle, keep an eye on “Britneygate,” as it is bound to produce some interesting fodder for the case book and tabloid alike.
– Lauren Sibyl Bair
Tagged with: advertising • books • Britney Spears • Britneygate • California • career • celebrities • contracts • courts • creative content • criminal law • defamation • entertainment • financial • government • intellectual property • JETLaw • lawsuit • lawsuits • legislation • Lynne Spears • media • medicine • pop icon • privacy • progress • publicity rights • Sam Lufti • state appeals court • tabloid • technology • Through the Storm: A Real Story of Family and Fame in a Tabloid World • U.S. Constitution
Recent Blog Posts
- Former Cardinals Executive Pleads Guilty to Hacking, But Will the Cardinals Pay the Price?
- Making a Murder – Technology in Forensic Evidence Questioned
- Is “smart gun” technology the future of gun safety?
- Why High-Profile Athletes’ Defamation Lawsuits Against Al Jazeera Are Nothing More Than a Hail Mary
- Executives of a Chinese Online Video-Sharing Service Provider Stood Trial for Internet Pornography
- The Rise of ‘Swatting’
Tagsadvertising antitrust Apple books career celebrities contracts copyright copyright infringement courts creative content criminal law entertainment Facebook FCC film/television financial First Amendment games Google government intellectual property internet JETLaw journalism lawsuits legislation media medicine Monday Morning JETLawg music NFL patents privacy progress publicity rights radio social networking sports Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) technology telecommunications trademarks Twitter U.S. Constitution