William Bensussen, a producer and DJ who goes by the name The Gaslamp Killer, sued our client and a second woman, both of whom, he alleges, accused him of raping them after they met at a private party at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles. Bensussen sued both women for defamation and the Davis Wright Tremaine team filed an anti-SLAPP motion on Ms. Medina’s behalf.
In a ruling issue issued March 7, 2018, Judge Joanne O’Donnell granted our client’s anti-SLAPP motion, finding that “Medina’s allegedly defamatory statement was made in connection with an issue of public interest, violence against women” and therefore fell squarely under the protections of the California anti-SLAPP statute. Judge O’Donnell also found that Mr. Bensussen could not establish a probability of prevailing on his claim against our client.
Judge O’Donnell dismissed the claim against Ms. Medina with prejudice. The ruling gives Ms. Medina the right to recover her attorney fees.
“This is a very important victory,” said Ms. Henry, who drafted and argued the anti-SLAPP motion. “Many men accused of rape or sexual assault/harassment leverage the judicial system to silence their victims. Filing defamation claims against victims who speak out about their experience threatens the victims with years of stressful and expensive litigation. In many cases, the victims are forced to relent because they simply cannot afford to defend themselves against their alleged rapists, who generally have more resources and influence. This dynamic forces victims into the shadows and effectively muzzles them. Our team is privileged to have played a role in making sure that at least one victim’s voice is heard.”