A $10 million lawsuit filed by an Azusa resident who claimed singer/actress Jennifer Lopez interfered with a proposed film about her life should be dismissed, a state appeals court ruled on Monday.
Reversing a May 2011 ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann Jones, the three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal found that current law prevents the lawsuit by Claudia Vazquez from going forward.
"The litigation privilege bars all of plaintiffs claims and the trial court erred in denying the (dismissal) motion," Justice Elizabeth Grimes wrote in the unanimous 12-page opinion.
Lopez, 43, claimed the movie Vazquez wanted to make would have dealt in part with her first marriage, and that revealing the information would damage her career and could cause the public to "think badly" of her. Vazquez sued the "Selena" star in December 2010.
She maintained the project she wanted to complete with Lopez's first husband, Ojani Noa, and writer Ed Meyer would be a "comedic parody of Noa's life crafted nearly entirely from material that is already in the public domain."
A year earlier, in November 2009, Lopez sued Meyer and Noa, alleging invasion of privacy. She obtained an injunction stopping them from distributing home videos from the brief marriage—Lopez married Noa in 1997 and divorced him 11 months later—and a judge has ruled that her claim for damages should be decided by an arbitrator.
Vazquez maintained the injunction hindered her ability to produce and market the proposed film and she also alleged that Lopez's attorney threatened her.
However, the actress' lawyers said that what Vazquez labeled as threats were actually the contents of an October 2009 letter warning her that Noa was bound by a 2007 employment settlement agreement to avoid disparaging Lopez or disclosing intimate details of her life.
The actress' lawyers argued that sending the correspondence to Vazquez was "protected conduct," not a threat to her or an interference with her planned film project, and that was why her suit should be tossed.
When Jones ruled against them in May 2011, they appealed on the actress' behalf. In 2009, Lopez submitted included a sworn statement with her lawyers' court papers outlining her concerns if the film effort went ahead.
"I believe that Noa's and Meyer's dissemination of private and intimate details about me, whether true or fabricated, and my alleged relationship with Noa and also their exploiting false and disparaging descriptions and lies about me are highly damaging to me and to my career in the entertainment industry," Lopez stated.
The actress also said making such private facts public was "continuing to cause me great distress and embarrassment," and that Noa's alleged participation in the project had the potential to hurt her in many ways.
"I believe that Noa will damage my reputation with movie producers and businesses which contract with celebrities for the use of their names, likenesses and spokesperson services for commercial endorsements and may very well cause some members of the movie-going and record-buying public to think badly of me," Lopez stated.
The damage may already have been done, she said.
"It may be impossible or very difficult for me to ever know or prove what acting roles and other employment and endorsement opportunities that I did not obtain, or the actual amount of lost compensation, which are a direct result of Noa's statements, scripts, interviews, films, private video, book manuscripts and other things," Lopez stated.
Lopez maintains Noa once wanted to write a tell-all book about their marriage, but he denies the allegation.
--City News Service