Rutgers player to sue Imus for libel, slander, defamation, double secret defamation, etc

The damages aren’t specified but we know they’ve been “scarred for life” so we must be talking at least millions. And just coincidentally, they’re coming forward on the same day Imus got his own multimillion-dollar payout from CBS.

Anyone know offhand what the legal test is for when jokes/figures of speech become slanderous? I want to be sure the next time I call a friend a “douche” I don’t owe him any money.

Kia Vaughn, star center for the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team, has filed a lawsuit against Imus for libel, slander and defamation — the first civil suit to be filed against the former radio host. Vaughn is asking for monetary damages of an unspecified amount…

Today’s suit refers to terms used by Imus April 4 — including referring to women on the team as “nappy headed” — as “debasing, demeaning, humiliating, and denigrating” to Vaughn and her fellow players. “There’s no way these bigoted remarks should have seen the light of day,” Ancowitz told ABC News.

“Don Imus referred to my client as an unchaste woman. That was and is a lie.”

Groan. Something for the lawyers: aside from the “I was obviously kidding and everyone knew it” defense, would either of these work: (a) arguing that society has “evolved” to the point where being known as unchaste isn’t really harmful to one’s reputation and therefore no action for slander can lie, and/or (b) the fact that Imus didn’t identify any of the players by name and therefore their reputations have been damaged only insofar as one knows them to be members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team? The latter, I’m guessing, wouldn’t prevent a cause of action necessarily but would mitigate damages.

All moot anyway. He’s not about to rehash this incident in court when he’s trying to get his career back on track. As long as they’re not too unreasonable, they can name their price.

Go read the comments to the ABC article. This suit is practically PR for him.

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