“America’s Dad” has been having a rough time in the court the last couple of years. With his sentencing looming after being convicted of sexual assault, the one-time entertainment icon is still facing the defamation lawsuit filed by former supermodel Janice Dickinson.
Recently, a California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court upheld Dickinson’s right to sue for defamation based on his lawyer’s statements that she is a liar. Who knew you could be sued for what your lawyer says? Cosby wants the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn those prior decisions.
Cosby is arguing that Dickinson’s defamation case should go the way of cases like those filed by accusers Renita Hill and Kathrine McKee. Federal judges in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts dismissed those cases out of hand.
Dickinson’s lawyer Lisa Bloom has consistently maintained that her client has a right to sue and will ultimately prevail. That could make every client the insurer of his or her legal representative. I confess that I haven’t read Dickinson’s complaint, but being responsible for what your lawyer says just doesn’t sound right.
Team Cosby insists that Cosby’s former lawyer, Marty Singer, was simply expressing his personal opinion– which, they point out, is protected speech under the First Amendment– when he called Dickinson a liar in 2014 when she claimed that Cosby raped her in a hotel back in 1982.
Remember that in her 2002 memoir, “No Lifeguard on Duty,” Dickinson wrote that when Cosby asked her to go back to his hotel room, she refused, and he gave her a nasty look.
Now she says that what she wrote was not true. I dare say almost any lawyer in the country would ask her on the witness stand: were you lying then or are you lying now?
Either way . . .
So, Singer called Dickinson a liar, and she sued Cosby the following year, in 2015. Just Cosby, mind you. Later she added Singer as a co-defendant.
Curiously (maybe “incredibly” is a more appropriate word), Judge Hammock dismissed Singer as a co-defendant, leaving Cosby– who was not the person who called her a liar– in the case. Could it be that Singer’s speech was protected after all? Fat lot of good that’s doing for Cosby, though.
Hmm. Got to get my hands on that complaint. Anyway, hello Supreme Court. Time to get back to the rule of law.