Blake Shelton’s Lawsuit Against ‘InTouch Weekly’ Will Be Allowed to Proceed
Despite In Touch Weekly's motion to dismiss Blake Shelton's lawsuit, a judge has ruled that the country superstar's legal actions against the tabloid will be allowed to proceed.
On Monday (April 18), Judge Christina A. Snyder denied In Touch's request to strike the lawsuit, the Hollywood Reporter reports. In her decision, Judge Snyder writes, "No courts appear to have held that defamation claims premised upon false reports of treatment in rehabilitation must fail, as a matter of law. This Court accordingly declines to be the first."
Shelton first filed suit against InTouch Weekly in October, claiming defamation and seeking more than $1 million in damages, as well as an injunction. The lawsuit stems from a September cover story that alleged that Shelton’s heavy drinking had contributed to his and Miranda Lambert’s divorce, and that he was going to rehab. A previous story from the tabloid magazine reported that Shelton had cheated on Lambert prior to their divorce. The filing explained that the country star has asked for a retraction but had received no response.
“Contrary to Bauer’s reporting, drinking has not taken a toll on my well-being. I do not now, nor have I ever had, health problems caused by or related to drinking …,” Shelton's declaration states. “The Rehab Story is wrong that my friends, colleagues and team think I have a problem and need help. To my knowledge, nobody around me, including my managers, peers and work colleagues, and friends, thinks I have a drinking problem.”
In late February, InTouch publisher Bauer Publishing Company filed a motion to strike the lawsuit, leveraging California’s anti-SLAPP statute and claiming that Shelton's legal action interferes with the publication’s First Amendment rights. They also claimed that Shelton had no probability of winning the case.
“Shelton ignores that he has staked his reputation on heavy drinking ... Shelton also ignores the years of press — which went unchallenged by any legal claims — documenting how his ex-wife, among others, were so upset by his alcohol consumption that she told him to go to rehab," InTouch's court documents state. "By this action, Shelton attempts to walk back a public image he created. Yet the law does not allow for selective amnesia.”
Bauer Publishing also claimed that Shelton is “libel-proof” due to his tweets about drinking, which Judge Snyder rejected.
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