Back in June Summary Judgments reported on rocker and serial tweeter Courtney Love’s various legal woes, specifically a defamation suit brought against her by her former lawyer. The attorney, Rhonda Holmes, sued Love over comments the singer posted to her Twitter account after a falling out with Holmes.
Love tweeted that she was “devastated” when Holmes was “bought off,” a vague reference to how Holmes handled a lawsuit Love filed against former employees of her late husband, Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain. Love claimed they “looted” money from his estate. Holmes sued Love for defamation and, as part of the litigation, subpoenaed Love’s daughter with Cobain, Frances Bean Cobain, hoping Frances could help make the case.
It looked like a good idea at the time. Frances is famously at odds with her mother and emancipated herself at 17, in favor of being cared for by her father’s mother and sister. She even tweeted, “Twitter should ban my mother,” over Love’s claims that former Nirvana member and current Foo Fighter Dave Grohl had hit on Frances.
But Holmes’s strategy did not impress a LA Superior Court judge, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The judge said Holmes cannot depose Frances, now 20. It’s a mini-victory for Love because the judge also said that Holmes can’t obtain Frances’s guardianship or emancipation records, meaning Love’s dirty laundry can remain unseen. But that’s OK, Love will probably tweet about it eventually, anyway.
A win for Love
October 5, 2012
Thomson Reuters News & Insight
Courtney Love’s Daughter Won’t Testify in Mom’s Twitter Defamation Lawsuit
October 3, 2012
The Hollywood Reporter
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge won’t allow the law firm suing Courtney Love for defamation to depose her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.
Love is facing the lawsuit because she once tweeted about her ex-lawyer: “I was f—ing devastated (sic) when Rhonda J Holmes Esq of San Diego was bought off.”
In late May, Holmes and her law partner Frederic Gordon served a subpoena on the daughter of Love and late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
Cobain, 20, reacted by seeking a protective order against such a deposition, arguing that she was cut off from contact with her mother at the time of the tweet, and that what Gordon & Holmes was seeking — including sealed documents in Cobain’s old guardianship proceedings — amounted to “inadmissible and nondiscoverable character evidence.”
Later, Gordon & Holmes clarified what they hoped Cobain could provide in a deposition.
“I am informed and believe that Cobain has been an alleged victim of false statements made by … Love on Twitter, the same social media platform on which Love made the defamatory statements at issue in this case,” Gordon told the judge. “To this end, I am informed and believe that, in April, Love posted allegedly false tweets in which she stated that Dave Grohl … had made sexual advances at Ms. Cobain, which in turn caused Ms. Cobain to issue a public statement in which she strongly denied and denounced Love’s allegations.”
In fact, it’s true that Cobain issued a statement, “Twitter should ban my mother.”
The comment might have been salacious; but the relevance to what Love said about her ex-lawyer was not clear.
On Tuesday, a judge signed off on a protective order because the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that Cobain had knowledge relevant to the ongoing case. Additionally, a judge nixed the law firm’s attempt to gain guardianship or emancipation records.
The defamation case against Love continues with plenty to fuss over, including the potential damage of a celebrity who allegedly uses social media to disseminate false news of a lawyer’s corruption.
Cobain was represented by Bryan Freedman at Freedman & Taitelman.
“Trying to subpoena our client to be a witness in this case she had no knowledge of or involvement with was preposterous,” says Freedman. “It was pure and simple harassment. We are thrilled the judge agreed with our clients position and went so far as to sanction the law firm for the costs Ms. Cobain incurred based on the disingenuous and improper conduct of the Plaintiff.”