“Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star, Brandi Glanville will never win an Emily Post Etiquette Award. She is no perennial touchstone for politeness and good manners but do her provocative and oftentimes outlandish statements rise to the level of defamation? “Real Housewives of Miami” cast member Joanna Krupa thinks so. The wife of nightclub owner Romain Zago sued the resident troublemaker in Miami-Dade County on January 22, 2015 citing “slander, slander per se and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
Glanville knowingly made false and malicious statements that Krupa had sexual relations with prolific real estate developer Mohamed Hadid while Hadid was in an intact marriage to RHOBH’s Yolanda Foster, according to the lawsuit. Krupa asserts that she and Hadid were never romantically involved with one another. Krupa also argues Glanville made false and defamatory statements that she had an allegedly fishy-smelling vagina. As per the Complaint, Glanville defamed Krupa when the former stated that the latter’s “vagina was malodorous, asking host Andy Cohen, in relation to Mrs. Krupa, if he got food poisoning from bad sushi.”
Defamation is a false statement of fact, communicated to a third party, which is meant to hurt the plaintiff’s reputation or economic well-being. A private figure only has to prove negligence on the part of the defendant whereas public figures (Krupa included) must demonstrate the presence of actual malice in a defamation suit.
Joanna Krupa was given a fighting chance to proceed against Brandi Glanville on June 9. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley issued an Order Denying Brandi Glanville’s Motion To Dismiss Krupa’s Complaint. “Accordingly, it is ORDERED and ADJUDGED the Defendant Glanville’s Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.”
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A motion to dismiss tests whether the plaintiff has stated a cause of action and the court must accept all the allegations in the complaint as true. In order to state a cause of action, a complaint must allege sufficient facts to show that the pleader is entitled to relief. A motion to dismiss does not assess whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail at trial.
In arriving at this conclusion, the court considered Joanna Krupa’s Complaint And Demand For Jury Trial Against Brandi Glanville, the Motion to Dismiss, and the Response and Request For Denial of Glanville’s Motion to Dismiss. The court heard arguments of counsel on June 2. Present at the hearing was Plaintiff Joanna Krupa’s counsel Raymond J. Rafool, Esq., and Defendant Brandi Glanville’s counsel Scott M. Zaslav, Esq.
The court indicated Krupa’s Relief Clauses in Counts I and II of the Complaint are requests for post-judgment interest only, and not for prejudgment interest. Post-judgment interest is meant to encourage parties (for example, Glanville) to pay quickly the damages that are due as per a judgment, and to compensate the prevailing party (for example, Krupa) for the inability to use the awarded money for the period of time that an appeal is pending, which can take years to be decided. On the other hand, prejudgment interest is a rate of interest applied to an award in litigation to compensate for the use of monies between a date before trial (for example, the date of the alleged harmful event) and the judgment date.
The Motion to Dismiss filed February 18, 2015 by Glanville appears to be a pre-answer motion since the court decided, “The Defendant Glanville shall answer the Complaint on or before June 22, 2015.” How could Glanville neglect to file an answer in response to Krupa’s suit? Defendants can respond to a complaint by serving an answer but they can also make a pre-answer motion, such as a motion to dismiss. Yet after the court rejects a motion to dismiss, the moving party must file a responsive pleading within 14 days after receiving notice of the court’s action.
Glanville, who may or may not have realized that there are plenty more fish in the sea after splitting from Eddie Cibrian, has to admit or deny each allegation in Krupa’s Complaint. She can provide legal defenses (including affirmative defenses), counterclaims, and cross-claims. Glanville’s failure to admit or deny an allegation may lead the court to determine that she has admitted to the allegation.
Once the answer has been filed and served, the parties will enter the discovery phase of litigation. There will be discovery demands, such as interrogatories, requests for documents, and scheduled depositions. Defamation cases are extremely fact-specific, making discovery all the more critical. Issues of damages (for plaintiffs) and defenses (for defendants) are fact-driven and require an examination of how plaintiff’s reputation was harmed and who can bear witness to the truth or falsity of the statement at issue.
The potential deposition roster reads like a who’s who of Bravo talent: It girl Gigi Hadid’s dad (Mohamed Hadid), RHOBH’s Lyme Disease sufferer (Yolanda Foster), and RHOBH’s pretty in pink restaurateur (Lisa Vanderpump) might be deposed. After all, Krupa claims Hadid, Foster, and Vanderpump denied the truth of Glanville’s statements and publicly confirmed Hadid never made the statements Glanville said were true and attributed to Hadid. Vanderpump has mentioned that Glanville’s claim is a complete lie. Meanwhile, Glanville maintains that the defamatory statements were true, and that Vanderpump witnessed Hadid’s statements.
The drama-centric Glanville recently tweeted, “When sorry isn’t enough & U sue 4defamation of character shouldn’t that person have to prove they had character in the 1st place?”
Glanville also chirped on June 8 “I’ve never sued anyone in my life!if I sued every person that said something bad about me I would be in court for the rest of my life! Ha.”
Is Glanville fishing for supporters? A party commenting on a pending legal action is not advisable and will typically infuriate judges.
The time may be ripe for a cross-pollination of the “Real Housewives” franchise. Move over, Kim Richards, there’s a new actress/model in town. Reports claim Kim has reportedly been fired/demoted/quit (pick your verb) as a series regular on RHOBH while Krupa is often seen out and about in La La Land. Imagine the tussles if Krupa were thrown into the 90210 mix with Glanville and Foster. Grab your gavel, join the conversation, and let us know which side you think will be a fish out of water when this defamation case proceeds.