Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Former Model's Lawsuit Against Cosby and His Lawyer Proceeds

Litigating in the press is one thing; litigating against the press is another. Neither is a good idea.

That's a tip from -- among others -- the press. Attorney Martin Singer apparently hasn't learned it, even after the California courts gave him a really big tip.

Singer, who represented comedian Bill Cosby, threatened to sue the press after model Janice Dickinson accused Cosby of drugging and raping her. But in Dickinson v. Cosby, the lawyer and the joker will have to face the press and a jury.

Mother of #MeToo

Dickinson could be the real mother of the #MeToo movement. Fifteen years ago, she told her publishers that Cosby had assaulted her but they feared civil liability. Her memoir was published with a sanitized version, then dozens more women made accusations of sexual assault against the former comedian.

After Dickinson went public with details in 2014, Cosby attacked her in the media. His lawyer also sent a letter to media outlets, threatening to sue if they repeated her story.

She sued them both for defamation, and Cosby filed an anti-SLAPP motion. A trial judge partially granted the motion, but the Second District Court of Appeal turned everything back against Cosby. The court also chastised his lawyer, who claimed he was protected by the litigation privilege.

"The demand letter was a bluff intended to frighten the media outlets into silence," the judges said. The appeals court said the words were "hollow threats of litigation," and the litigation privilege did not apply.

Court of Public Opinion

The state Supreme Court, which rejected Singer's appeal, apparently agreed. Now Singer needs a lawyer.

"While we believe the Supreme Court should have reviewed the erroneous appellate court opinion, we now have the opportunity to address these claims on the merits and fully expect that Mr. Singer will be dismissed from the lawsuit again," Jeremy B. Rosen told the Philadelphia Tribune.

Rosen may think that judges do not read press accounts of their decisions, but everybody knows about the Cosby cases. The Dickinson case is one of many accusing the erstwhile comedian of sexual assault.

Another one goes to trial next month in Philadelphia. Cosby's lawyers may fare better in the trial court, but so far they are losing in the court of public opinion.

Related Resources: