Court Tosses Suit Over |Rapper’s Viral Video

     (CN) – A federal judge has tossed a North Carolina woman’s claim that a rapper should compensate her for calling her a “hoe” on a video that viral and ultimately caused her firing from the barbershop where she worked.
     In the video, which was shot backstage at the Fillmore Theater in Charlotte, N.C. on March 20, 2014, Christine Marie Chisholm appears excited to meet defendant Tauheed Epps, better known as Def Jam recording artist “2 Chainz,” and attempts to tell him how much she enjoyed his show.
     Epps, playing to entourage, embarrassingly blows her off, and as she walks around the room looking confused, as he and others repeatedly refer to her as “THOT” – slang for “That Hoe Over There.”
     Later, either Epps himself or a member of his entourage, posted the video on a number of websites, including YouTube, with the hashtag #isthatyothot, and it allegedly went viral, generating millions of view.
     Chisholm returned to her job as front desk manager at the No Grease barber shop in Charlotte the following day; all the while, the number of views of the video continued to grow, and many viewers left disparaging or obscene comments about her.
     Eventually, her boss at No Grease found out about the video and the public ridicule Chisholm was receiving, and on April 3, 2014, he fired her, explaining he feared the video would reflect negatively on his businesses.
     Chisholm filed a lawsuit pro se in state court in March 2015, claiming Epps’ not only caused her to lose her job, but also was basis of extreme embarrassment and mental anguish. She sought damages asserting claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and deceptive trade practices.
     However, due a problem with the summons and its service, Epps was actually served with it until June 9, 2015. The document contained no reference to three previous attempts to serve the summons, or the problems that had ensured after Chisholm filed her lawsuit.
     Epps filed a motion to have the lawsuit removed to federal court, and immediately filed an additional motion seeking the complaint’s dismissal on the grounds of insufficient process.
     U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen granted that motion last month, pointing out the North Carolina Court of Appeals has made clear that “the failure to have a summons issued within five days of filing the complaint is fatal.”
     “Here, the summons was not issued in the manner prescribed by statute and, as a result, the action is deemed never to have commenced,” Mullen wrote.
     But the judge did not stop there. He went on to say even is the summons had been properly issued, Chisholm’s defamation claim would have failed because it is time barred by North Carolina’s statute of limitations on libel and slander claims, which holds that all such claims must be filed within a year of the incident.
     In this case, Mullen said, the alleged defamatory remarks were published between March 20 and April 3, 2014, but the operative summons was not issued until June 8, 2015, well over a year later.
     As for Chisholm’s claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, Mullen said well-established North Carolina law was again not on the plaintiff’s side because state courts have “held that ‘mere insults, indignities, and threats’ do not constitute conduct that is extreme or outrageous.”
     Under North Carolina law, to prevail on a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must prove: (1) extreme and outrageous conduct; (2) which is intended to cause, and doe cause; (3) severe emotional distress to another.
     While the treatment she was subjected to was certainly inconsiderate or unkind, Mullen said, “Defendant’s use of the word THOT cannot constitute the foundational ‘extreme or outrageous conduct’ required for Chisholm’s claim to prevail.
     As for the young woman’s deceptive trade practices claim, Mullen held it to be “devoid of any factual allegations.”

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