Lindsay Lohan's Parents Want Her To Sue A Senator Who Made Fun Of Lindsay

from the that's-not-how-any-of-this-works dept

Over the past few years we’ve written about some really dumb lawsuits (or threats of lawsuits) filed by actress Lindsay Lohan. There was that time she sued E*Trade for $100 million because it had a baby in its commercial, named Lindsey, who was described as a “boyfriend-stealing milkaholic,” which she insisted must be a reference to her (think about that one for a second…). Or there was the time she claimed that a jewelry store releasing surveillance tape footage of her stealing a necklace violated her publicity rights. Then she sued the rapper Pitbull for a lyric “I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan” (and, bizarrely, that one included accusations of a plagiarized filing by her lawyer. And, of course, most famously, Lohan spent years battling Take Two Interactive, claiming a ditzy starlet character in Grand Theft Auto was also a violation of her publicity rights.

Apparently she comes by this apparent proclivity to threaten and/or file nutty lawsuits honestly. Because her parents were reported as threatening to sue a US Senator for making a reference during a hearing to Linsday Lohan. They later “clarified” that they would not be the plaintiffs, but that they’re encouraging Lindsay to sue. Here’s the original report, though:

Michael and Dina Lohan are planning to sue Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) over the ?slanderous comments? that he made about their daughter, actress Lindsay Lohan, on Wednesday during a congressional hearing on the Equifax data breach.

The comments occurred as Richard Smith, the former CEO of Equifax, the credit reporting company that was hacked last month, was being questioned about signing a $7.25 million IRS contract for identity verification services. The deal could reap profits for the company as a result of the hack.

?Why in the world should you get a no-bid contract right now?? Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) asked Smith. Kennedy added, ?You realize to many Americans right now, that looks like we?re giving Lindsay Lohan the keys to the minibar.? Smith paused for a moment before responding, ?I understand your point.? The ?Mean Girls? star, originally of Cold Spring Harbor and Merrick, has spoken about her past struggles with drugs and alcohol.

So, uh, let us count the many, many, many ways in which this is not “slanderous.” (And we originally had the fact that Lohan’s parents had no standing to sue, but have removed that since they’ve clarified they just want her to sue).

  1. It was a figure of speech, not a false statement of fact about Lohan.
  2. Even if there were a false statement of fact (there wasn’t) there’s no way that such a statement meets the “actual malice” claim — meaning that it was done with knowing falsity or with reckless disregard for the truth.
  3. Under the Westfall Act, everyone in Congress is effectively immune from defamation lawsuits for things they say as part of their job — especially when said on the floor or in a committee hearing.
  4. And, again, for emphasis, Senator Kennedy didn’t say anything defamatory about Lohan.

Who knows if she’ll actually go ahead and sue, but Michael Lohan insists that he’s trying to find a lawyer to handle this, and told the site “Gossip Cop” (linked above) that merely associating Linsday’s name with Equifax is what he found to be slanderous.

?Dina and I are seeking legal counsel for Lindsay regarding the slanderous comments and unprofessional behavior of Senator John Kennedy (R-La.),? he says. ?His comment and analogy was inappropriate, slanderous and unwarranted. How dare he associate Lindsay with this case? Tell me, does he have a family member or friend with a former addiction problem? Wow, and he?s a senator??

Hopefully, whatever lawyer he finds explains to him that this is not at all how defamation works. In his updated statement to Gossip Cop, he confuses matters even more:

?While Dina and I realize we can?t sue Senator Kennedy for his bullying statements, Lindsay can. I advised her to seek counsel through a friend who is a well-known federal attorney in New Orleans.? He adds, ?This has got to stop. Lindsay has turned her life around and does wonderful humanitarian work.?

Again, even assuming that it’s true that Linsday has “turned her life around” (good for her), that has nothing to do with whether or not she can sue over the Senator’s statement. Unfortunately, it appears that Lindsay may actually be listening to her parents on this one. She tweeted the following:

It’s a picture of her holding up a water bottle, and saying: “This is the only thing I keep in my mini bar these days – glad I found they are helping me out.” It also includes a winking emoji and a blowing a kiss emoji — which, we hope, means she’s making fun of the situation, rather than following through with an actual lawyer.

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Comments on “Lindsay Lohan's Parents Want Her To Sue A Senator Who Made Fun Of Lindsay”

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ralph_the_bus_driver (profile) says:

Re: After three days off, Lindsay Lohan is all you've got?

Yes, you could sue under your scenario. That is because you are attributing words to someone that did not say those words. That did not happen to Lohan.

Lohan is a public figure with a reputation for abusing alcohol. Regardless of if she has rehabilitated, she is still fair game for someone to use her past as an example. If she were to succeed, she would need to prove that the Senator said it with actual malice.

The Senator’s words were poorly chosen. It is never right to insult someone, especially when they are not involved in the discussion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Speech or Debate Clause

The speech or debate clause is applicable to a senator’s speech at a committee hearing.

For example, see Gravel v United States (1972)

It appeared that on the night of June 29, 1971, Senator Gravel, as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds of the Senate Public Works Committee, convened a meeting of the subcommittee and there read extensively from a copy of the Pentagon Papers. . . .

[Senator Gravel’s] insistence is that the Speech or Debate Clause at the very least protects him from criminal or civil liability and from questioning elsewhere than in the Senate, with respect to the events occurring at the subcommittee hearing at which the Pentagon Papers were introduced into the public record. To us this claim is incontrovertible. . . . We have no doubt that Senator Gravel may not be made to answer —either in terms of questions or in terms of defending himself from prosecution—for the events that occurred at the subcommittee meeting.

(Emphasis added.)

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

So Lawyers dot com cut a deal with the notoriously litigious starlet & her attention staved family.

She’s been redeeming her profile some lately, sorta sad to see her parents encouraging stupid shit for a paycheck.

Perhaps we need stronger laws about protecting child stars from their parents, because Lindsays life is a textbook example of what happens when they parents just want to get paid and who cares what happens to the kid.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Truly, your eloquent and passionate arguments, backed by legions of citations and counter-arguments demonstrating clearly and concisely the flaws and erroneous claims and statements in the article are a masterpiece of logical thinking, to be held up by all and sundry as the shining example of rational and well-written literary criticism.

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