1:55pm PT by Austin Siegemund-Broka
Bill Cosby's Lawyer Fires Back at Accuser Lawsuit, Demands Sanctions
Bill Cosby’s attorney Marty Singer has hit back at the lawsuit filed on Tuesday against the embattled comedian. In motions filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, Cosby’s lawyer argues that the lawsuit should be dismissed and monetary sanctions imposed against plaintiff Judy Huth and her attorney.
In addition to holding that the lawsuit is flawed, Singer claims that Huth’s attorney Marc Strecker tried to extort Cosby with threats of filing the case. Strecker demanded a payment first of $100,000, then of $250,000 from the comedian, the motion states. "Once Mr. Cosby refused to capitulate to his extortionate demands and accused Ms. Huth and her attorney of engaging in a shakedown, Plaintiff’s counsel rushed to Court within a day to file the lawsuit in an attempt to avoid the ramifications of engaging in extortion," it reads.
Huth claimed in her complaint that Cosby sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1974, when she was 15 years old. She is suing for sexual battery and infliction of emotional distress.
Part of the opposition Cosby’s attorney raises to the complaint is the statute of limitations for sexual assault claims. The statute permits plaintiffs to bring claims within three years of when the plaintiff discovers he or she incurred psychological illness due to sexual abuse, which Huth claims is the case.
Singer, who has been vocal in support of Cosby amid the accusations of sexual abuse arising rapid-fire against the comedian, argues that not only does Huth provide no factual support for her statement that she recently discovered the damage due to abuse, the claim couldn't be true because Huth, Singer alleges, attempted to sell the story of her abuse to tabloids almost a decade ago.
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Another problem Singer has with the suit is a statute that requires any sexual abuse plaintiff over 26 years old to file with his or her complaint two certificates of merit — one by the plaintiff's lawyer, and one by a mental health practitioner — verifying a "reasonable and meritorious cause" for a lawsuit. Huth filed her case without filing the certificates, Singer says.
What's more, Singer argues, a plaintiff cannot identify a defendant by name before the court has reviewed and accepted the certificates of merit. That hasn't been done in this case, Singer says. "The prejudicial impact of plaintiff's identifying Mr. Cosby by name in this suit cannot be overstated," he writes.
Singer holds that filing the case without the certificates and with Cosby's name makes it worthy of dismissal without leave to amend, and of sanctions. He's asking $33,295, an amount he claims reflects Cosby's legal fees.
Strecker did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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