When is a lawsuit not a lawsuit? – The Hollywood Reporter

In 1935, Erwin Schrödinger famously performed a thought experiment: Placing a cat in a sealed steel chamber along with a tiny bit of radioactive material would release poison when it could decompose. The Austrian physicist noted that before anyone opened the room and observed, the cat existed in an indeterminate state between life and death.

Lawsuits can be like Schrödinger’s cat. As proof, let’s turn to a libel “suit” “filed” on Monday by Ryan Kavanaugh against podcaster player Ethan Klein. This is not the usual case and lawyers, reporters and others would be wise to pay attention as it is geared towards uncovering the quantum state of litigation and the privileges that observers enjoy. our legal system think they have about repeating accusations and comments.

Before getting to what Kavanaugh alleges, it is necessary to introduce this controversial entertainment industry veteran as well as discuss a jurisprudence in Los Angeles that almost no one knows about.

In 2004, Kavanaugh made headlines when he founded an independent studio, Relativity Media, which is credited with disrupting the tough business of filmmaking. That is to say, he took a quantitative approach to production. Perhaps partly due to the success of Michael Lewis’ day. Moneyball, Kavanaugh’s methods have attracted interest. And the man also has a lot of relationships. For example, future US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was an investor, and for a short time, co-chairman of Relativity. The company burned through hundreds of millions of dollars before one of the most notorious bankruptcies in Hollywood ever struck in 2015. And Kavanaugh, feuding with investors, was wounded by his cover. The Hollywood Reporter.

Since Relativity’s bankruptcy, Kavanaugh has been involved in a variety of projects as well as legal entanglements.

In 2017, Kavanaugh founded a new company, Proxima Media, and with an individual named Elon Spar, he pursued a new entertainment stock exchange. However, the effort got off to a rough start as Kavanaugh and Spar pointed fingers at each other over funding and secrecy. Spar even accused Kavanaugh of running a “Ponzi scheme”, Diversity title for its own controversial story. This will become relevant later. A little more about what happened. In the meantime, just know that Kavanaugh and Spar were able to find some workaround.

Kavanaugh’s Proxima then gained most of the interest in Triller, a social media site that, among other things, distributed pay-per-view boxing matches featuring people famous as Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr. and Jake Paul. And when people started to infringe on those fights, Triller filed multiple copyright lawsuits. One of the targets was Ethan Klein, whose H3 Podcast used a clip of a fight with Jake Paul.

This has led to another feud for Kavanaugh, one that has escalated over the past few months. Klein mercilessly attacked Kavanaugh on his podcast. For example, just before Thanksgiving, the H3 Podcast posted an episode titled “Wikipedia is Ryan Kavanaugh’s battleground.” And in response to Klein’s response, Kavanaugh fired a legal grenade from a scathing interference lawsuit filed in July to a new defamation act just yesterday. Kavanaugh is currently represented by Thomas Clare, one of the country’s most prominent attorneys.

Kavanaugh’s Latest Complaint Against Klein Flag Podcaster For “Continuous And Repetitive Attacks”[ing], and continuously[ing] to attack Mr Kavanaugh in various ways, but specifically by re-posting the defamatory and highly damaging allegation, which they know to be false, that Mr Kavanaugh is accused of running a ‘Ponzi scheme’ ‘.… Klein then began selling t-shirts to fans online with the tagline ‘Make yourself appropriate’, depicting Mr. Kavanaugh in a criminal defendant in a courtroom, while also countering. Klein’s defamation proposal that Mr. Kavanaugh operated a criminal enterprise. “


When it comes to defamation laws, most states including California have protections known as “fair reporting privileges,” which essentially means anyone is free to talk about the proceedings. governmental and judicial proceedings without fear of liability if the accusations made therein are repeated. The only caveat is that the report must be a fair and honest account of the public proceeding. The media relies heavily on this privilege. For example, it’s BuzzFeed’s way of beating the defamation that matches the publication of the infamous Trump Dossier. Privilege exists not for the sake of fame, but to further advance the First Amendment and help citizens better understand issues of public concern.

But what if the lawsuit isn’t quite as clear about an event as people think? How does that impact the way we approach discussion of legal issues?

Two years ago, after Spar filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court against Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh filed his own lawsuit against Spar, something very strange happened. Within hours, Kavanaugh’s representative called the media and insisted that no lawsuits had actually been filed and that the reports on the matter were defamatory. I know because I was the recipient of one of those calls. Kavanaugh even released a statement at the time accusing Diversity and The Hollywood Reporter about having “attempted to smear” him by citing Spar’s purported legal filings.

What actually happens involves something that requires a bit of an advanced level of legal journalism and the court system in general.

About a decade ago, an organization called the Court News Service began suing local court officials across the country for not providing immediate or near-instant online access. in court records. The service has enjoyed some success leading to the argument that the First and Fourteenth Amendments do not require transparency. As a result, the Los Angeles Superior Court system opened a media portal for reporters.

Here’s where the problem comes in: It takes some time to process court filings. The lawsuits are indexed and specified. And it took several hours for this to happen, giving reporters access to what the LA Superior Court called an “unhandled complaint.” Indeed, the court even stamped the word “unprocessed” on every page of this record.

What if an attorney submits a claim into the system and then resolves it quickly before the claim is indexed? That’s what happened two years ago. Kavanaugh and Spar quickly withdrew their complaint, but not before the media had written stories about them. Lawsuits, yes, are like Schrödinger’s cat.

Kavanaugh never sued The Hollywood Reporter neither Diversity about his conflicting stories with Spar. Whether he was satisfied with the explanations attached to the articles or cowed by the advice that fair reporting privileges would include these stories, he backed off.

But now a podcaster is highlighting old titles and doing things like launching a website titled “Ryan Kavanaugh looks like Harvey Weinstein? A comprehensive analysis. ”

And so Kavanaugh is trying to prove that something related to the court system doesn’t have to be permanently there; that repeating accusations he ran a Ponzi scheme is defamatory. Or at least, that’s what the “open” version of Kavanaugh’s latest salvo efforts is.

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