Wednesday, February 13, 2013
James Franco Hasn't Bothered to Answer Defamation Lawsuit
The NYU professor suing the actor asks for a default judgment.
In what might be a case of history repeating itself, lawyers for a former New York University professor suing the actor for defamation submitted a motion for a default judgment on Wednesday based on Franco's failure to answer.
Jose Angel Santana filed the lawsuit in September in New York state court against the actor, alleging that Franco had made "disparaging and inaccurate public statements" against Santana after receiving a "D" in his class in 2010.
Since the filing of the lawsuit, Santana has gone on the attack against Franco.
For his part, Franco has remained mostly silent about the lawsuit.
The legal action targets comments made in public by the actor where he called his ex-teacher "awful," adding, "I didn’t feel like I needed to waste my time with a bad teacher.”
Last November, co-defendant NYU answered the lawsuit, arguing that Santana's suit was nonsense because the allegedly defamatory comments "consisted of nothing other than Franco's personal opinions regarding Santana's teaching skills."
Franco could easily take a similar tact and ask the judge to weigh what's fact vs. opinion.
(In response to Franco's reasons for not wasting his time in class, Santana's lawyers say "Franco's reason(s) for not attending Plaintiff's class is also a fact that can be proven true or false... Notably, Franco had previously cited his work on the movie 127 Hours as the reason he was unable to attend Plaintiff's class.")
But to make the case that his comments were only opinion, which can't be defamatory as a matter of law, Franco has to retain a lawyer and show up.
Santana's own attorney says that hasn't happened even though the actor was served with a summons and complaint at his California residence on December 16.
Read More... http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/james-franco-hasnt-bothered-answer-421369