Gaslamp Killer Files $5 Million Defamation Lawsuit Over Rape Accusation
William Bensussen, the electronic music producer and longtime Low End Theory resident known as The Gaslamp Killer, has filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against two women who accused him last month on social media of drugging and raping them in 2013. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Nov. 13, names the two women, Chelsea Tadros and RaeAn Medina, along with Tadros’ boyfriend, Jack Wagner.
The 26-page suit, a copy of which was obtained by L.A. Weekly, seeks damages on seven counts, including defamation by libel, false light, interference with contractual relations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“These false and despicable allegations have sabotaged Mr. Bensussen’s career, upended his personal life, and led to the cancellation of his shows,” Bensussen’s attorney, Parag Amin, said via a written statement. “Mr. Bensussen is seeking to restore his good name the right way — through a court of law, where people must testify under oath and there is accountability for false statements.”
Tadros, Medina and Wagner did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Through a representative, Bensussen also declined to comment, instead referring to a press release that included statements from his attorney, Amin.
“False stories like the ones perpetrated by these two women further victimize real victims of assault,” Amin said.Bensussen was first accused of rape on Oct. 12, by a woman then identified only as Chelsea, who posted a screenshot on Twitter of a lengthy statement in which she “falsely [claimed] that she and Medina were raped by Bensussen on July 5, 2013 after being drugged at The Standard hotel in Downtown Los Angeles,” as described in the suit, which reprints the original accusation in full. In her statement, Tadros claimed after she and her friend, Medina, returned from the bathroom, Bensussen gave them drinks that had been spiked with some kind of drug.
Bill O’Reilly Files #MeToo Defamation Lawsuit Against Former Politician
Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has filed a $5 million dollar defamation lawsuit against a former New Jersey politician that accuses him of “making defamatory and false” statements about him in a #MeToo Facebook post. According to the suit, Michael Panter falsely posted on Facebook that O’Reilly had sexually harassed an ex-partner and then attempted to ask her for help in digging up dirt on one of his multiple accusers. In response to the accusation, O’Reilly stated, “Panter’s post is completely contrived, false and defamatory, aimed at hurting Bill O’Reilly and his family. Mr. O’Reilly will be commencing legal action against Mr. Panter, and the ex-partner he quotes, for all damages he and his family have suffered from this improper conduct.”
According to the Facebook post, O’Reilly not only hit on Panter’s ex-girlfriend, but repeatedly subjected her to late-night phone calls and asked her for help in uncovering personal information about a new woman accusing O’Reilly of sexual harassment in an attempt to discredit her, asking Panter’s ex-partner if she knew anything about possible drug use or the new accuser’s financial situation.
O’Reilly filed the suit in New York in a response to Panter’s purportedly “intentional, malicious, and bad faith actions in making defamatory and false statements in a publicly-available social post.” In response to O’Reilly’s claims of defamation, Panter issued a follow-up statement that defended his claims against O’Reilly and raised the possibility of bringing counter defamation claims against him in the future.
Social media is a relatively uncharted legal territory, and the question of what constitutes defamation over platforms like Facebook and Twitter remains murky. In American defamation law, any communication, even through social media, can be considered libelous if it is found to be false and damaging to an individual or corporation. The success of a defamation claim can also hinge on whether the subject is a public figure. In order to be found liable for defamation against a person who is famous or well known, a person must have acted with “actual malice,” meaning that he or she was aware that the statement in question was false, or acted with reckless disregard for the truth.
Lawsuit: Effects of ‘bathroom bill’ linger in North Carolina
The law that replaced North Carolina’s notorious “bathroom bill” sports a new look but maintains LGBT discrimination and prevents transgender people from using restrooms matching their gender identity, according to a lawsuit Friday.
The lawsuit renews a high-profile legal battle that has thrust North Carolina into the center of the national debate over LGBT rights. The state took the “bathroom bill” off the books in late March after a yearlong backlash that hurt North Carolina’s reputation and caused businesses and sports leagues to back out of lucrative events and projects.
But lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal said the replacement law, known as H.B. 142, continues the harms of its predecessor.
“Legislators were forced to rewrite the law,” ACLU lawyer Chris Brook told reporters Friday. “But make no mistake … H.B. 142 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing crafted to keep discrimination intact but sporting a new look.”
The compromise earlier this year between Republican legislative leaders and Democrats led by Gov. Roy Cooper eliminated the “bathroom bill” requirement that transgender people use restrooms in many public buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.
The law that replaced North Carolina’s notorious “bathroom bill” sports a new look but maintains LGBT discrimination and prevents transgender people from using restrooms matching their gender identity, according to a lawsuit Friday. The lawsuit renews a high-profile legal battle that has thrust North Carolina into the center of the national debate over LGBT rights. The state took the “bathroom bill” off the books in late March after a yearlong backlash that hurt North Carolina’s reputation and caused businesses and sports leagues to back out of lucrative events and projects. But lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal said the replacement law, known as H.B. 142, continues the harms of its predecessor.
Auto Racing’s NASCAR Accused of Racial Discrimination in Lawsuit
Black-owned teams and drivers say they’ve been blocked from competing.
NASCAR was hit with a $500 million lawsuit accusing the auto racing body of racial discrimination for preventing black-owned teams and drivers from competing, including in the Sprint Cup Series.
Terrance Cox and his company, Diversity Motorsports Racing, filed a lawsuit late on Friday in U.S. district court in Manhattan against NASCAR, its parent company, International Speedway Corp, and 18 teams, according to court records.
The plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction requiring the defendants to “fully integrate the African-American community.”
In a statement, NASCAR said the lawsuit has no merit.
“Diversity both on and off the track continues to be a top priority for NASCAR and its stakeholders,” the organization said. “We stand behind our actions, and will not let a publicity-seeking legal action deter us from our mission.”
The plaintiffs said they sued after NASCAR refused to let them field a team or join its Drive for Diversity program, and last year told them to cease contact.
Citing NASCAR‘s website, the plaintiffs said none of the 48 drivers in the Sprint Cup, NASCAR‘s top racing series, is black, and only one of the 18 teams has partial African-American ownership. They also said only one driver in NASCAR‘s Xfinity Series circuit is black.
“Motorsports remain the most racially segregated sport in the United States,” the complaint said. “NASCAR and ISC have been complicit in, and supportive of, the racially discriminatory environment that virtually excludes African-Americans from meaningful participation.”
The lawsuit seeks $75 million in compensatory damages and $425 million in punitive damages.
Katie Couric Faces $12 Million Defamation Lawsuit For ‘Misleading’ Edits In Gun Control Film
Virginians Citizens Defense League (VCDL) has filed a $12 million defamation lawsuit against Katie Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig for their role in the “misleading” edits that made VCDL members appear stumped by Couric’s gun control questions in her documentary Under the Gun.
Breitbart News previously reported that an eight-second pause was inserted in the film between the end of Couric’s question about gun control and the responses offered by VCDL members. The pause made the VCDL members look like Couric had baffled them with her gun control insight. In truth, the VCDL members had answered Couric immediately.
Raw audio obtained by the Washington Free Beacon proved the immediacy of the VCDL’s answers, but once the edits were made, the film portrayed the members as speechless:
Couric later apologized for the “misleading” edits.
CBS 6 now reports that the VCDL has filed a defamation suit. VCDL president Philip Van Cleave said:
“We were horrified to see how Couric and her team manipulated us and the video footage to make us look like fools who didn’t stand up for the Second Amendment. We want to set the record straight and hold them accountable for what they’ve done. You shouldn’t intentionally misrepresent someone’s views just because you disagree with them.”
Austin Children’s Dentistry suing forensic dentist for defamation
AUSTIN (KXAN) – After the death of a 14-month-old girl following a visit to an Austin Children’s Dentistry location earlier this year, the company is now suing the author of a critical report and stating that new reviews show the girl’s treatment was “dentally necessary.”
The autopsy report, released by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office in July, ruled that anesthesia caused the death of Daisy Lynn Torres. There was an anesthesiologist on-site during Daisy Lynn’s appointment, according to a 911 recording and a spokesperson from Austin Children’s Dentistry. However, what as at issue in the lawsuit is a portion of the autopsy including a report from a forensic dental examiner, Dr. Robert Williams. The report questioned why 14-month-old Daisy Lynn Torres was having a dental procedure before she died. The report prompted Austin Children’s Dentistry to suspend the child’s dentist.
Now, the dental office is questioning the forensic report and accusing the forensic dentist of libel, defamation, and business disparagement in lawsuit filed this week in Travis County District Court.
The lawsuit also provides a look into the actions of Austin Children’s Dentistry after the release of the report. The lawsuit states that the dental office launched an internal review finding that the treatment for Daisy Lynn Torres was “dentally necessary, was appropriate and was provided in response to the initiating concerns that were appropriately raised by the minor patients parents.” It also states that dental records and x-rays should never have lead to the statements in Dr. Williams’ report.
“ln addition to internal reviews, ACD sponsored independent expert reviews by national experts to review the patient records and radiographs taken of [dentist Dr. Michael Melanson’s] treatment of the patient and to assess the concerns expressed in Dr. Williams’ odontology report,” the lawsuit states. “The expert reviews concluded that the clear dental necessity for Dr. Melanson’s treatment was obvious and supported in the record entries and radiographs that were not even noted or referred to by Dr. Williams in the short and brief conclusions contained in his report.”
Former Manatee High football coach Joe Kinnan sues school board, former officials
BRADENTON – Former Manatee High football coach Joe Kinnan has filed a lawsuit against the Manatee County School Board and former officials, claiming libel and slander.
“The School District is aware that an action was filed, but the School District has not yet been served,” school district general counsel Mitchell Teitelbaum said in a statement. “The legal pleadings will be analyzed for further action to be taken on behalf and in defense of the school district.”
The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Manatee, names former superintendent Rick Mills and former school district investigator Troy Pumphrey as defendants in the suit, as well as the school district. Kinnan’s wife, Linda Kinnan, is also listed as a plaintiff.
In July 2014, Kinnan announced that he was taking medical leave of absence but then retired in August 2014.
His final season with the team was in 2013. He retired from the school district in August 2014 after claiming district officials were retaliating against him and in 2015, Kinnan became an assistant football coach job at the University of South Florida.
Reached Wednesday, Kinnan declined to comment, saying he was referring all media requests to his lawyers. Kinnan is being represented by the Romano Law Group, out of Lake Worth. The law firm also represented former Manatee High School principal Bob Gagnon in his lawsuit against the district.
John Romano, the lawyer, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Amber Heard Drops Defamation Suit Against Johnny Depp’s Friend Doug Stanhope
Amber Heard has dropped her lawsuit against Johnny Depp’s friend Doug Stanhope.
Heard filed a defamation lawsuit against the comedian in June after he accused her of blackmailing Depp and lying about the actor’s alleged domestic abuse in an article posted to his website, and later published by TheWrap.com.
Now, just three weeks after Heard and Depp reached a settlement in their divorce, PEOPLE confirms that the actress has dropped the defamation suit against Stanhope.
Stanhope’s attorney, David S. Gringas, tells PEOPLE that Heard and his client did not reach any agreement to settle the case. Furthermore, Gringas says that no money was exchanged between Heard and Stanhope, and that there is no confidential agreement between them. Gringas adds that he has not been in contact with Stanhope since the lawsuit was dropped, and says that given the comedian’s busy schedule, “I’d be surprised if he even knows anything about the conclusion of the case.”
According to the attorney, the dismissal “was negotiated as part of a larger deal between Ms. Heard and her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. Doug Stanhope is one of Johnny Depp’s closest friends, and it appears that Johnny was able to convince Amber to drop the lawsuit against Doug as part of a global resolution of their divorce.”
Gringas also notes that the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that Heard could re-file the lawsuit within one year of the date that Stanhope’s article was first published. “As far as we know, Ms. Heard has no plans to re-file the case against Mr. Stanhope, but that option remains available to her,” he explains.
In her initial court filing, Heard claimed that Stanhope “orchestrated a plot to write an article, which was published at TheWrap.com, which falsely accuses plaintiff Amber Heard of ‘blackmail’ and other criminal behavior towards her husband, Johnny Depp, from whom she is seeking a divorce.”
Worker files lawsuit after he says Lebanon company fired him because he’s gay
A worker who claims he was fired because he’s gay has filed a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer.
The attorney for the former worker of Abacus Corporation in Lebanon filed the lawsuit near the close of the business day on Friday, hours before the Labor Day weekend.
James Thompson, who is gay, said he was just doing his job when he fired another worker for making discriminatory comments and then walking off the job.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a right to sue letter to Thompson Aug. 31, and on Friday his attorney filed that discrimination lawsuit at U.S. District Court in Nashville.
“I want all discrimination to stop,” Thompson said. “The way I was fired was not right at all.”
On this Labor Day, Thompson said things are moving much faster than he expected since bringing the allegations of wrongful termination against his former employer.
“[I was] fired for no reason,” Thompson said. “I can’t even draw my unemployment because they won’t issue my termination letter.”
School Board defamation lawsuit goes to trial
STEVENS POINT – A judge has set a trial date for a lawsuit filed by two Stevens Point School Board members who accuse a newspaper of defamation.
School Board members Lisa Totten and Kim Shirek filed a lawsuit against Brandi Makuski, editor of a weekly newspaper called the Stevens Point City-Times, and its parent company, Multi Media Channels of Green Bay, claiming defamation and negligence in the newspaper’s reporting.
A summons with the lawsuit identifies 10 articles published by the City-Times between Jan. 9 and Feb. 12 this year that contained “false information or repeated false accusations and allegations.”
Wood County Judge Todd Wolf, who took the case so a Portage County judge could avoid a conflict of interest, scheduled a trial in front of a 12-person jury beginning Feb. 23.
Totten and Shirek are represented by two attorneys from Milwaukee-based law firm Fox, O’Neill and Shannon. One of the attorneys, Jacob Manian, said the suit aims to clear his clients’ names after a series of politically motivated articles by the City-Times to try to remove Totten and Shirek from the School Board.
“What we’re simply trying to do is get to the truth here,” Manian said.
Through their attorneys, Totten and Shirek requested on Feb. 18 a retraction of the statements and implications in a Feb. 6 article called “Support, Opposition and Ridicule: The School Board Recall Attempt Has Already Seen It All,” according to the summons.
“Neither Ms. Shirek nor Ms. Totten has engaged in any harassment or intimidation of anyone,” the summons states. “Neither has any knowledge of such harassment or intimidation.”
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