Libel Lawsuit against Hollywood Reporter Thrown Out - iMediaEthics

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A recent The Hollywood Reporter cover (Credit: The Hollywood Reporter)

The Hollywood Reporter got a $50 million libel lawsuit against it thrown out last week, the Hollywood Reporter announced.

“The lawsuit has been dismissed in its entirety,” the Hollywood Reporter reported.

The Hollywood Reporter’s executive editor Matthew Belloni told iMediaEthics by e-mail:“We are pleased with this outcome.”

Film producer David Bergstein sued over the Hollywood Reporter’s coverage of “the involuntary bankruptcy of his various companies” including Capitol Films and ThinkFilms, the Hollywood Reporter explained:

“In 2010, creditors led by David Molner’s Screen Capital International filed a petition to have those companies brought to Chapter 11 and have a trustee take control. Bergstein was also accused by creditors of treating the companies as ‘if they were his own personal fiefdom and bankroll,’ according to the petition to appoint a trustee.”

The June 10 ruling, which the Hollywood Reporter uploaded on Scribd, states Bergstein sued for defamation, tortuous interference with business relations, negligent interference, interference with prospective advantage, aiding and abetting, and conspiracy.

The judge wrote that last year “this court also dismissed with consent of the parties” the claims of negligent interference, aiding and abetting ,and conspiracy”

This week, the judge completely dismissed the defamation case against the Hollywood Reporter.

Bergstein complained about four articles, according to the lawsuit:

Bergstein sued for tortuous interference claiming that an article “was specifically timed to … impair [his] ability to purchase Miramax” and that he was told “the bad publicity was the specific reason that he needed to be excluded from a management role.”

“These allegations make clear that Bergstein’s tortuous interference claims are based upon, and seek damages for, the same conduct that underlies Bergstein’s defamation claim,” the judge wrote.

The judge dismissed the tortuous interference claim for more than one reason: “the claims merely restate the defamation cause of action,” and also because the lawsuit “fails to allege that [the Hollywood Reporter] directed any activities toward any third parties with whom Bergstein had, or sought to have, a relationship.” Further, the lawsuit didn’t “allege that [the Hollywood Reporter’s] conduct procured the breach of a specific contractual term.”

For more on the back story of the lawsuit, check out the Wrap’s report and Law 360’s coverage.

Read the full ruling.

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Libel Lawsuit against Hollywood Reporter Thrown Out

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