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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
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Gawker Defamation Suit Dismissed

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A California actress-surfer-model lost her defamation claim against Gawker Media for not filing a timely complaint, a federal judge ruled in dismissing it with prejudice.

Hannah Cornett sued the media gossip website and its editor in chief A.J. Daulerio in August 2013 .

Noting that Gawker's sports blog Deadspin called her a "grifter" in several 2011 articles, Cornett sought punitive damages for defamation, privacy invasion and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage.

Cornett sued in Los Angeles Superior Court in September 2012 but voluntarily dismissed the action in July 2013. She pursued the matter in Nevada, where she claimed she could "'have the witnesses she needs,'" U.S. District Court Judge Gloria M. Navarro wrote in the Dec. 19 order.

Navarro found the cause of action was in New York, where Gawker and Daulerio are located. As a result, Nevada's borrowing statute applies, Navarro wrote, and her first amended complaint is barred by New York's 1-year statute of limitations.

"The court must dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint as untimely," Navarro wrote. "Moreover, nothing in plaintiff's proposed second amended complaint or the attached briefing provides a factual basis from which the court can infer that plaintiff was actually a Nevada citizen when she commenced this action."

Real estate mogul James Alesi, a friend of Gawker publisher Daulerio, sued Cornett in 2011, claiming that the actress-surfer-model had run up $20,000 in unauthorized charges on his credit card while staying at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. Cornett claimed she prevailed in Alesi's lawsuit, so Daulerio ran three articles in September 2011 on Deadspin that called her a grifter.

In addition to punitive damages, Cornett sought an apology and a retraction.

She was represented by Airene Williamson in Las Vegas and Steven Kernan in Beverly Hills.

Gawker was represented by Chad Bowman of Washington, D.C.

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