Oprah Reaches Legal Settlement in Defamation Lawsuit

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By Kamika Dunlap on March 25, 2010 12:45 PM

Looks like the talk-show queen will not be headed to trial after all, as Oprah reached a legal settlement in a defamation lawsuit.

As we discussed previously, Oprah and former headmistress Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane met without lawyers to try to reach a settlement while jury selection began this week.

It looks like that meeting did, in fact result in a resolution of the dispute, averting a federal trial that was set to begin, Philly.com reports.

It is unclear if Mzamane was compensated in the legal settlement and got any or all of the $250,000 she sought in the lawsuit.

As previously discussed, jury selection was underway for the defamation trial that was scheduled to begin in Philadelphia later this month. Jury selection is one of the first stages in the civil trial.

Many disputes are resolved through legal settlement. The structure of settlements can vary widely, but often includes the plaintiff agreeing not to pursue further legal action regarding the injury or dispute at hand, in exchange for something (usually, but not always, money) from the defendant.

Coming to settlement before the trial begins helps both sides avoid the costs of litigation.

Mzamane's defamation lawsuit was based on comments Oprah made in 2007 during a press conference to address allegations of a sex-abuse scandal that at the private school. Her comments implied that the headmistress knew about the incident and covered it up.

Mzamane ran the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

In addition, Mzamane alleged that Winfrey had suggested in public the former headmistress untrustworthy.

She claimed Winfrey's comments prevented her from finding work for a year.