Britney Spears' former manager Sam Lutfi's case dismissed
A Los Angeles judge has dismissed Britney Spears' former manager Sam Lutfi's libel, defamation and breach-of-contract case against the singer.
Lutfi said he plans to appeal the ruling, which was issued on Thursday, November 1, according to KABC Television, OTRC.com's parent company.
"This was a difficult decision," Judge Suzanne G. Bruguera said. "I really thought long and hard and the motions are granted as to all of the defendants and all the causes of action. That's the right thing to do, and that's what we are doing."
The trial is now over and the jury is set to be dismissed formally at 10 a.m. on Friday. The judge had agreed with the defense attorneys that there was insufficient evidence as to all causes of action claimed by Lutfi, who had served as Spears' manager for eight months, starting in mid-2007, when she suffered a mental breakdown.
The 38-year-old had sued the pop star for 15 percent of her earnings, claiming they had an agreement at the time and that helped her with her 2007 album, "Blackout." He also sued her father Jaime Spears, claiming he punched him in the chest, and her mother Lynne Spears, for writing in her 2008 book "Through the Storm" that Lutfi drugged and isolated Britney and that he used paparazzi as "henchmen."
Lutfi filed the lawsuit in 2009, about a year after she was hospitalized and placed under conservatorship to control her health and finances. Spears herself never appeared in court, as the judge overseeing her conservatorship ordered her not to appear in trial or a deposition.
During the trial, the judge heard testimonies from Lutfi, Spears' parents and paparazzo Adnan Ghalib, who had dated Spears during her breakdown. During that time, Spears famously shaved her own head at a salon (watch video), spoke in a British accent and attacked a paparazzi with an umbrella.
Lutfi had testified that amphetamines were to blame for her behavior and claimed that she shaved her head because she found out that drug use could be detected through a hair sample and was worried about losing custody of her sons - Jayden James and Sean Preston.
The pop star's fear came true but she later made a career comeback and now shares custody of the boys with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. Spears remains under conservatorship.
Her father's attorney argued during the trial that there was not enough evidence presented to characterize the punitive damages and battery claims against Jamie and that the nature of the alleged violent confrontation, in which Lutfi claimed that the man chased him around a kitchen table, was not a planned event but had rather occurred in the spur of the moment. He also stateed that Jamie touched Lutfi on the chest, but did not hit him.
Jamie agreed that there was some minor touching, but the attorney said Lutfi admitted there was no bruising and no pain, only saying it hurt as a momentary incident of discomfort. His attorney also argued that there was no evidence of injury, therefore the jury cannot award damages.
Lutfi's attorney told the judge that the chasing and hitting were a planned act and that Jamie threatened to kill Lutfi, adding: "There was a momentary pain - that's the damages, that it hurt. You threatened to kill someone than you hit him, or touch him, like defendant admitted. That's damage."
The attorney for Spears' co-conservators argued that the breach of contract cause of action should be thrown out because there was no meeting of the minds about such contract and that Lutfi could not come up with a start date for it. He also pointed out that there were no documents that proved that Lutfi had ever asked to get paid or reimbursed.If a contract indeed existed, Boxer said, Lutfi would have the burden of proof to show that Britney did not accept the terms of it under undo influence. "When you have such a relationship (of Britney saying she trusted Lutfi like she trusted no one else) and a contract is entered in to, he bears enormous burden to prove there was no undo influence," Boxer highlighted.
Lutfi's attorney said the man spoke to Spears' business manager at the time and did indeed ask to get paid. The lawyer added that "24 hours a day with Britney Spears, I think, is very challenging" and said Lufti acted like a manager in June 2007, when he made a deal with the paparazzi and "performed some valuable work," and also helped the singer reconcile with her family and helped her get her career back on track.
Spears has been busy filming the upcoming second season of FOX's "The X Factor." The first live show, featuring new co-hosts Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez, aired on Wednesday.
Spears is also reportedly planning a wedding with her fiance Jason Trawick. A wedding date has not been announced for the couple, who became engaged on December 15. Trawick and Spears have been dating since the summer of 2009. Prior to that, the two had a professional relationship as Trawick was Spears' manager. The two ended their professional ties in May 2010 to "focus on their personal relationship." In April, Trawick became a co-conservator of Spears, along with her father Jaime.