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March 15, 2017

Attorney: Tony T. Defamation Suit to See Trial in '18

LOS ANGELES—The lawsuit filed in January by director Tony T.—which until recently had performer Ramon Nomar as co-plaintiff—charging adult star Nikki Benz and production corporation MindGeek with defamation is expected to go to trial by jury in early 2018, according to T.'s counsel, industry attorney Karen Tynan. The suit, filed January 11 in Los Angeles Superior Court, concerns allegations Benz made via social media about a December 19 shoot for Brazzers (a subsidiary of MindGeek) directed by Tony T., with Nomar and herself performing. In the suit, T. maintains that Benz's claims she was "abused" and had her consent repeatedly violated during said shoot were untrue and that he "sustained shame, mortification and hurt feelings" as a result. In a press statement, Tynan said that raw footage from the shoot in question—which was screened for select industry members the evening of January 11—"did not back up any of [Benz's] claims ... and none of the on-set crew witnessed anything that would corroborate her story." She added that MindGeek's subsequent termination of T.'s contract and its public statements about the matter "worked to confirm Benz's claims, and further damaged [T.'s] reputation, leaving him not only without a contract, but largely unemployable in the adult industry." Tynan said that a case management conference is set for May 16 in Los Angeles, at which "Tony plans to ask for a two-week jury trial." She noted that discovery has not yet begun in the case, but that an early 2018 trial date is projected. As a point of possible pertinence, California trial procedure, according to KinseyLaw.com, stipulates that civil cases such as this "must be tried by a jury, unless a jury trial is waived," meaning that the only way the case would not go before a jury would be if both parties waived the right to have one.  

 
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