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July 12, 2017

Judge Denies Nikki Benz's Motions in Tony T Suit, Case to Proceed

LOS ANGELES—Attorney Karen Tynan issued a statement on behalf of her client, Tony T, Wednesday morning announcing that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Delilah Lyons has denied several motions adult performer Nikki Benz made to strike director T's defamation suit against her, and that the case will be allowed to proceed.  In May, Benz filed an anti-SLAPP motion against T, as well as a demurrer and a motion to strike punitive damages in the case, which concerns claims Benz made via social media last December that she was sexually assaulted and had her consent violated during a shoot which T directed for Brazzers and PornHub parent company Mindgeek. "We feel incredibly vindicated by this," Tynan said in her statement. "Benz went on Twitter to make outrageous claims that were easily refutable, but did tremendous damage to my client's reputation and caused him to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts and business opportunities. This isn't about silencing free speech, it's about the consequences of making criminal allegations with no basis whatsoever. The Tony T suit against Benz will proceed." The statement also indicated that while Judge Lyons found Benz's statements to be "protected activity," she ruled that T had met his burden in showing that he had a probability of prevailing in his lawsuit on all causes of action, and that he properly alleged his right to punitive damages. At the same hearing, the statement added, Judge Lyons heard Mindgeek's own anti-SLAPP motion against T regarding the company's press release announcing it had fired him. The judge granted Mindgeek's motion on the grounds that the press release did not adopt Benz's defamatory statements. Benz has 10 days to file her Answer to Judge Lyons' ruling. Benz's attorney, Lisa Maki, told AVN that she intends to file an appeal. "The court dismissed Tony T's case against Brazzers and gave Brazzers' [attorneys] the opportunity to file a motion for attorney's fees and costs against Tont T," Maki said.

 
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