A designer who alleges that she was libeled by Courtney Love on Twitter has won a round against the celebrity in court.
Judge Aurelio Munoz in Los Angeles Superior Court denied Love's motion to dismiss the case under California's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law, which provides for speedy dismissal of lawsuits that aim to squelch people's right to speak about public matters.
Munoz ruled that Love's tweets about designer Dawn Simorangkir didn't concern a matter of public interest, according to Simorangkir's lawyer, Bryan Freedman. Munoz also found that the designer was likely to prevail at trial, Freedman says.
In March, Love allegedly made a series of accusations about Simorangkir on Twitter and MySpace. Among other statements, Love allegedly wrote that police in Austin, Texas "are more than ecstatic" to pick up Simorangkir because she "has a history of dealing cocaine, lost all custody of her child, assault and burglary."
Simorangkir said in her court papers that Love's statements were false and defamatory. "Whether caused by a drug induced psychosis, a warped understanding of reality, or the belief that her money and fame allowed her to disregard the law, Love has embarked in what is nothing short of an obsessive and delusional crusade to terrorize and destroy Simorangkir," Simorangkir alleged.
The problems between Love and the designer appear to stem from a contract dispute. Love allegedly commissioned more than $4,000 in custom-made clothing from Simorangkir, then refused to pay for the pieces, according to Simorangkir.
Love argued that her statements were about a matter of public concern because she was trying to warn other potential customers to avoid doing business with Simorangkir.
Love's lawyer says the musician-actress will appeal. "We simply don't agree with the court that it is not in the public interest to be allowed to speak out when one believes consumers are being ripped off," attorney Keith Fink says.
The lawsuit against Love appears to have been the first libel case stemming from Twitter posts. Since then, however, at least one other such case has been filed -- a lawsuit by a landlord against an ex-tenant who allegedly tweeted that her apartment contained mold.