Kim Kardashian Sues Ex-Publicist for Calling her Marriage a Sham #Defamation

Does Kim Kardashian (KK) have a solid claim of defamation against her ex-publicist?

The Reported Facts

“Kim Kardashian is finally firing back at the guy who has been making claims her wedding was a sham — by hiring legal pit bull Marty Singer to put a muzzle on him … TMZ has learned.

A guy by the name of Jonathan Jaxson has been doing a media tour to promote his book (coincidence?) and saying Kim never wanted to marry Kris Humphries and her wedding was all staged.

Jaxson claims he knows this because he did PR work for her, but a source close to Kim tells us they worked together once, years ago, on a blog … and that Kim barely remembers who he is.

We’re told Kim is particularly baffled how Jaxson can talk about Kim’s wedding plans … when she hasn’t spoken to him in years.

But as part of their brief time together, we’re told Kim had Jaxson sign a confidentiality agreement — which Kim clearly feels he’s violating now. Kim has now hired Marty Singer, who submitted papers to a private arbitration to attempt to shut Jaxson up immediately.

KK is claiming Jaxson has damaged her reputation with his allegedly defamatory statements and she wants a minimum of $200,000 in damages. . .” -TMZ

UDUAK LAW FIRM Legal Commentary & Analysis
I have covered this kind of suits in the past. Below is how the analysis would play out:

What Law Applies?
Tort law

What is the Legal Cause of Action?
Defamation of character

To win her claim here, KK has to show:

1) Jonathan Jaxson (Jaxson)  made a statement .

2) The statement adversely affected Kim’s reputation. Most people now believe the wedding was staged only to make money.
3) The statement was defamatory and was about KK;
4) The defamatory statement was published to a third party i.e. on TV, the world (www);
5) Jaxson’s statements caused damage to KK’s reputation.

Since we are dealing with a public figure this means KK also has to prove the statement was actually FALSE; AND the false statement was the FAULT of Jaxson.

Malice: As a public figure, KK must also prove “malice” as one of the elements of a defamation claim. The UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT has set a very high bar for showing malice where we have a public figure like KK.

To prevail on the malice element, KK must show “clear and convincing” (the standard is as high as a ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard in criminal law) proof that the statement Jaxson made was made with malice.”

How do Your Prove Malice?
A case that speaks to the elements of malice is New York Times v. Sullivan. Decided by the Supreme Court, the case essentially said, “when you are a public figure, expect people to “hate” on you. Deal with it. If you still insist on your claim, then you have to show:

1) that the defendant had knowledge that the statement made about you was false; OR
2) the defendant had a reckless disregard as to the truthfulness or falsity of statements he/she made about.

This element is very tough to prove. It is even tougher in KK’s case because Jaxson claims he staged many of KK’s false romance with the media/PR to create buzz. Jaxson has a strong argument to make that either way, Kim’s reputation would still have been soiled. She divorced after 72days of marriage and millions of dollars allegedly earned from the wedding. There is no getting around the bad reputation whether Jaxson claims he helped her stage the wedding or not.

We will have to wait to see how this shakes out.