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Lindsay v Michael Lohan: Defamation of a Troubled Star?

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By Minara El-Rahman on November 09, 2009 2:00 PM

Ohhh parents, lies and audiotape....The Lohan family drama continues with Lindsay Lohan's father claiming that God is punishing his daughter for her sins.

It all started with the social media wonder site Twitter. Lindsay Lohan tweeted how her father was abusive and horrible to herself, her mother, and her siblings. She specifically tweeted how her father Michael Lohan would threaten to kill her mother Dina Lohan if she attempted to leave him.

Michael denies these claims directly to the New York Post: "That's a lie. I guess Lindsay is on more drugs than I thought to say something like that. Now I'm going to release more recordings that prove everything she is saying is nothing more than a bunch of lies."

Michael Lohan claims that he is leaking these tapes in a bid to get his daughter to go back to rehab.

He takes it a step further and even blames Lindsay Lohan's lifestyle as the reason for her career downfall. He references God in his criticism of his own daughter.

"No wonder why God is taking her entire career away from her," Michael continued. "Because she's forsaken everything He's given her and she's done nothing but misuse all the gifts she's given."

According to People Magazine, Lindsay Lohan's legal team is "weighing out its options and consulting with law enforcement about how to proceed."

My guess is that Lindsay Lohan is looking for a way to sue via defamation. In order to sue for defamation, you need to have a few elements:

  • The first is that you need to have the falsehood published. With Michael Lohan claming that his daughter is a drug addict to The New York Post, I think that Lindsay Lohan will not have a hard time proving that element.
  • The second element is that the falsehood is indeed a falsehood, We know that Lindsay Lohan has been in rehab in the past, so her father's claim that she is still addicted to drugs can either be true or it could be destructively false.
  • The third element is that the falsehood is injurious. Being called a drug addict by your father can pretty much ruin your reputation as a serious actress in no time.
  • It is unprivileged. So long as Michael Lohan did not say these things in a court of law under oath, or in a deposition, his statements are considered unprivileged

However, it is even harder for a celebrity like Lindsay Lohan to sue for defamation because they have an additional element to add. They have to add the intention of malice. This means that they must prove that Michael Lohan did not leak those voicemails in order to "save" his daughter as he claims he is trying to do. Lindsay Lohan's legal team is probably trying to assess the best way to prove this element.

Let's see if there is a lawsuit waiting in the wings.

Lohan is also reportedly considering seeking a restraining order against her father.

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