Larry Birkhead, Howard K. Stern & Rita Cosby – Will Larry Sue Part II

Posted on Sep 10, 2007 in Celebrity Justice

blondeambition31.jpgWill Larry Birkhead Sue?  Larry Burkhead says he will, so does Howard K. Stern.  Nothing’s been filed yet.  Before pondering why not, let’s review what’s happened since our last post:

1.  DannieLynn turned one last week, and there was a big party for her in Kentucky: both Larry Burkhead and Howard K. Stern were there.

2.  Rita Cosby’s book Blonde Ambition did hit the shelves, and was No. 56 at amazon.com at the time of this post.

Of course, the price has been slashed in half, and it’s getting very bad reviews.  Readers are pointing out that the book has no index, no footnotes, no documentary support; one comparison to the heavily-documented John Belushi bio Wired has been made.   (Of course, Bob Woodward of Watergate fame wrote that one.)

And, in a truth is stranger than fiction report: this morning, amazon.com is offering a twofer deal: get Rita Cosby’s book AND O.J.Simpson’s If I Did It, where proceeds go to the Goldman Family, for $29.36.  That tells you something.

3.  Larry Birkhead just won a big round in his suit with Debra Opri: she doesn’t get a quiet arbitration, they’re headed for trial. The arbitration clause didn’t hold.

4.  Some crazy guy just sued Howard K. Stern for $100 million.  Who?  The brother of Cosby’s source for the Stern-Burkhead gay lover story, Jackie Hatten.  Why is he in jail?  He serving 6+ years prison time for making criminal threats against Anna Nicole and actually attacking her neighbor.

Okay, so … will Larry sue? What about Howard? 

1.  Well, no one sued to stop the book from being published and actually hitting the shelves.  Sometimes, you can rush to the courthouse and get things stopped, just freeze things up, if you are about to be permanently harmed.  You request an injunction, where the court orders everything to be put on hold until the court can decide what’s up.  Happens a lot to stop home foreclosures.

It’s a short, stressful time: you’ve essentially got to try your case, prove up your harm, within two to three weeks.  Getting things like Temporary Restraining Orders and Temporary Injunctions are the types of proceedings that separate the men from the boys in lawyer circles: big job, lots of work, 24/7 preparation.

2.  Why didn’t this happen?  Maybe they didn’t have time.  Maybe they thought better of it; they might want more preparation time before a trial — and maybe they needed to see the book in print before going forward.   It’s not mandatory to seek an injunction.

Some would argue that the real damages start tallying as the book getting discussed on various TV shows, and gets sold in various locations.  Adds more parties to the defendant list, more deep pockets for collection purposes.   This camp would argue that Savvy Stern is letting it build, cha-ching.

Then, there’s another camp.  This camp would argue there’s no suit yet because there’s no case.  That even though Rita Cosby doesn’t have her documentation cited in the book, if it came to trial, Stern and Burkhead as Plaintiffs couldn’t hold their position.  These folk would argue that truth is a defense to libel, and that there’s no lawsuit because someone, somewhere knows the defense exists.

3.  One things for sure — Howard K. Stern has hired a lawyer, and Lin Wood’s cease and desist letter to Rita Cosby has been published at TMZ.   The date isn’t shown, but the content shows that the letter was sent prior to the publication date, warning Cosby and her publisher that a libel suit would be filed if the book went forward – and the rumors about its alleged content were true.

4.  Will Larry sue? Will Howard?  Still looks like a YES from here.  They’ve both given lots of warnings, the pockets of Cosby and Grand Central Publishing can now be accompanied by other, deeper pockets who’ve distributed and publicized the book, and they’re both well-acquainted with litigation.

Lin Wood’s not to be taken lightly, and while a lot has been said about Howard K. Stern’s character — Anna Nicole would not have had her case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court without him.   Stern’s a lawyer who’s not afraid to file.

5.  Jeff Bercovici over at Portfolio.Com (www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/mixed-media) asks:

How do you weigh his [Larry Birkhead’s] chances now that Cosby has admitted she never called him for comment on the claim that he and Howard Stern were lovers?

Well, it’s a helpful fact to show malice in a libel action – it could be argued to be reckless disregard for the truth on the part of a journalist not to check with the target of her story, even if she assumed he would deny its veracity.  Even more so, when this fact is placed alongside the cease and desist correspondence.   Nice call, Jeff.  �

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