Blake Shelton Beats In Touch Request To Dismiss Defamation Lawsuit
Blake Shelton beat In Touch’s request to have his libel and defamation lawsuit dismissed. A judge ruled on Monday that the case should proceed to trial.
As Gossip Cop reported, In Touch ran a cover last September alleging Shelton was in rehab after hitting “rock bottom” (see right). The accompanying story, however, said the star wasn’t currently in treatment, but was being urged to go for an addiction to alcohol. Regardless of the differing language, all the allegations were false, and Shelton sued the magazine’s parent company, Bauer, in October for $2 million.
Earlier this year, though, the publisher filed a motion to get the lawsuit thrown out, arguing that In Touch believed its information to be accurate and had not printed it with malice, two key factors in libel wars. Furthermore, it put the blame on Shelton for cultivating a public persona of being a drinker. Shelton, as Gossip Cop previously reported, hit back with a declaration that refuted the controversial cover story’s claims line by line.
Now the judge overseeing the dismissal hearing has sided squarely with Shelton and rejected the request. Federal judge Christina A. Snyder concluded that the “rehab” cover headline alone gave merit to the country superstar’s libel suit. “A reasonable person viewing the In Touch headlines and sub-headlines — which were located 30 pages away from the Article — might well have concluded that Shelton had, in fact, entered ‘REHAB’ after ‘his friends begged him to stop joking about drinking & get help,” she wrote in her ruling.
The judge further said that the going to rehab being a “commendable” action, as the magazine had tried to claim, doesn’t mean it wasn’t defamatory. She also disagreed with the company’s assertion that Shelton’s public comments about drinking meant he didn’t have the right to go after others for libelous assertions related to the same topic. As for the malice aspect, the Honorable Snyder pointed to the fact that In Touch published its cover allegation even though the outlet knew Shelton wasn’t in treatment.
Neither the singer nor the magazine has commented on the dismissal denial. But If Shelton and In Touch cannot reach an out-of-court settlement, it will be up to a jury to decide the lawsuit’s fate. Gossip Cop will continue to have updates.