Two of the “Jane Doe” defendants in the Diet Madison Avenue legal case have petitioned the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to dismiss the defamation lawsuit filed against them earlier this year by Ralph Watson, the former Chief Creative Officer at Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
They both filed last week in separate pleadings.
Watson was terminated last year after several posts on the Diet Madison Avenue Instagram account identified him as an alleged sexual predator and (in one instance) a rapist. The alleged behavior, per the DMA posts, was said to have occurred over many years at several agencies.
Watson has denied wrongdoing.
In the suit, in which he seeks $20 million-plus damages, Watson has identified more than 100 “Doe” defendants. Last year, he won the right to subpoena records from Instagram and Facebook that would reveal the identities of the anonymous individuals behind DMA that Watson believes defamed him.
The two Does filing dismissal motions last week were New York Doe 1 and New York Doe 3, the state referring to the residences of the defendants.
NY Doe 1 argued that Watson’s suit “strains to make a plausible connection between the defendants and the vague allegations of wrongdoing and fails entirely to state any allegations which connect Doe 1.”
Doe 1 notes that Watson does not allege he’s ever met or worked with her and does not accuse her of having had “any role in writing or publishing the posts at issue to the Diet Madison Avenue Instagram Account.” Nor did she republish said material. Watson, she added, ‘alleges only a hearsay statement that Doe 1 may have introduced an unnamed person to other people.”
Even if that’s true, it’s not a legal transgression that would justify a defamation claim against her, she argued.
Likewise, in her pleading, NY Doe 3 argued that Watson didn’t allege she “made any statement about Plaintiff, let alone one that was defamatory.” Watson did accuse Doe 3 of compiling a list of individuals in the advertising business who had been accused of harassment and that Watson’s name was not on the list. No crime there, Doe 3 argues, adding that Watson, “tries to keep NY Doe 3 in this case by claiming in wholly conclusory terms that she “’formed and/or assisted’ DMA and that discovery may show that NY Doe 3 made other, yet undefined, defamatory statements about him.” Which she argues is too vague and insubstantial to sue her for defamation and related charges.
The dismissal petitions follow similar pleadings in August by two other Does that Watson brought suit against. So far, the judge hearing the case has not ruled on any of them.