U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog

Cosby Files Cert. Petition in Dickinson Defamation Case

Most recently in the Bill Cosby legal drama, it was reported that Cosby finally filed the petition for certiorari seeking to overturn the California Supreme Court, and rather follow the federal First and Third Circuit courts of appeal.

On the criminal front, Cosby will be sentenced this September, and it has been reported that he will be considered a Tier III sexual predator and listed as a sex offender for the rest of his life. However, that's not what the High Court's being asked to consider. Rather Cosby is asking SCOTUS whether: "an attorney's statement denying wrongdoing on behalf of a client who has been publicly accused of serious misconduct enjoys constitutional protection"?

Dickinson Defamation Petition

The defamation case filed by Janice Dickinson against Bill Cosby and his attorney, Marty Singer, has been making headlines for some time now. Though Singer was dismissed from the case, when Cosby appealed, Dickinson filed a cross-appeal as to Singer's dismissal, and he was put back in.

The appeal to the High Court seeks to decide a foundational core issue of whether the First Amendment protects the statements made by Cosby's lawyer. The petition opens by quoting the First Amendment, followed by a apropos quote from Justice Kennedy about how attorneys need to be able to comment publicly when necessary.

Notably though, while the appeal seems to put forth a circuit split, the case being appealed is one that arises under California state law, and there really isn't a circuit split at all. Rather the First and Third Circuits have concluded differently when considering their respective jurisdictions standards for defamation claims.

Related Resources: