Cooley Secures $5 Million Victory for Miss Universe Organization in Defamation Suit
New York – December 20, 2012 –
Cooley LLP announced today that it secured a $5 million defamation award for pageant organization and client Miss Universe L.P. LLP in an arbitration hearing against a former Miss Pennsylvania who publicly claimed that the Miss USA pageant was "rigged." Cooley litigation partner and head of the financial services litigation group, Scott S. Balber
, and litigation associate Timothy L. Foster
, represented the Miss Universe organization.
Earlier this year, after Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin failed to secure a spot in the semi-finals of the Miss USA pageant, she launched a slanderous campaign alleging that the results were pre-determined. Monnin claimed to have indisputable proof that the pageant was a sham, and that she would not be deterred in her "quest for the truth," according to an NBC Universal press release. Monnin, however, refused all offers from the Miss Universe Organization to demonstrate the integrity of the voting process. In response, Miss Universe filed an arbitration.
On December 10, retired US Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz acknowledged that Miss Universe sufficiently demonstrated that Monnin had made her defamatory statements with malice – utilizing social media sites and national television shows as her medium. The judge ruled that the Miss Universe organization sustained $5 million in damages as the result of Ms. Pennsylvania's defamatory statements.
The judge concluded that the method used to judge the pageant is legitimate and dismissed any reasonable possibility that the process was rigged. He also determined that the defamatory statements were false and deleterious to the Organization's reputation. As a result, Miss Universe was awarded $5 million in damages. About Cooley LLP
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