Britney Spears' mom loses defamation appeal

Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:29am EST
 
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Britney Spears' mother has lost an effort to convince a California appeals court to toss a defamation claim made by the singer's former manager.

Sam Lufti, who represented the pop star for about five months in 2007-08, sued Lynne Spears over comments in her 2008 book, "Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World." The elder Spears painted a portrait of Lufti as a predatory Svengali-type who drugged Britney and served as a gatekeeper for all others. Specifically, the book referred to Lufti as a "predator," a "fake" and a "shifty" man, and accused him of "planning evil" and using paparazzi as his "henchmen."

Spears attempted to have the case tossed at the trial court using California's strong free speech laws, and when the judge ruled against her, she argued on appeal that the trial court erred when it didn't dismiss the defamation cause of action on a libel-proof claim (the legal theory being that Lufti's reputation was so bad that he essentially couldn't be defamed). But the appeals court has now rejected that argument, so the case goes back to the trial court.