February 21, 2008 / 2:14 AM / in 10 years

Judge denies attempt to move Britney Spears case

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A federal judge has denied an attempt to move the conservatorship case over the affairs of troubled pop star Britney Spears to U.S. jurisdiction from a California court, documents showed on Wednesday.

<p>Britney Spears arrives for a child custody hearing in Los Angeles, October 26, 2007. Spears on Tuesday failed to regain the right to see her two young sons after a closed-door court hearing in the lengthy and bitter custody dispute with her ex-husband Kevin Federline. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>

U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez ruled the claims “may not arise under federal law” and indicated that not all necessary supporting documents were submitted, according to court papers.

Gutierrez did give attorney Jon Eardley, who sought to move the case in Spears’ name, until February 29 to demonstrate why it should not remain in state court.

Spears, 26, has been hospitalized twice since early January for psychiatric evaluation and earlier this month, a Los Angeles court gave temporary control -- also known as conservatorship -- over her business and personal affairs to her father, Jamie Spears, along with attorney Andrew Wallet.

If the case were moved, Jamie Spears could lose temporary conservatorship, which now extends until March 10.

Last week, Eardley filed papers seeking to move the case to federal court on the singer’s behalf, but it remains unclear exactly who hired Eardley.

The lawyer’s spokesman, Michael Sands, also represents Sam Lutfi who was Spears’ manager until the conservatorship was granted, and Sands has said he was “not at liberty to discuss” who hired Eardley.

A temporary restraining order has been issued against Lutfi to keep him away from the singer.

In separate court documents, lawyers for Jamie Spears called Eardley’s filings “a brazen -- but vain -- attempt to strip a probate court” from extending the conservatorship.

They argued, among other things, that Eardley had no standing in court to seek removal of the case on his own, and Britney Spears could not have hired him because she has no legal authority to do so. That authority belongs to Jamie Spears as conservator.

Eardley, in his original filing, claimed the case should be moved because conservatorship was granted due to drugs Spears is supposed to take and added her father’s actions “interfere with the effectiveness of the scheduled medications.”

Sands said Eardley “commends Judge Gutierrez” for allowing him to submit new documents to support the case and that by Thursday, those papers could be in the court’s hands.

“I believe I have the most electrifying documents for Judge Gutierrez’s review so that he may make a good decision in favor of Britney Spears and dissolve the conservatorship immediately,” Sands said on Eardley’s behalf.

Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney

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