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May 04, 2017

Nikki Benz Files Motion To Strike Tony T's Suit Against Her

LOS ANGELES—Adult star Nikki Benz has filed an anti-SLAPP Motion to Strike against director Tony T.'s defamation lawsuit which he filed in January, when she was named as a defendant. T. filed his suit in Los Angeles Superior Court stemming from statements Benz made via Twitter starting December 20 that she had been sexually assaulted during a December 19 shoot for Brazzers. That shoot was directed by T. and co-starred Ramon Nomar, who at first was part of the defamation suit but later dropped out. SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” or one that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense in an effort to get them to abandon their opposition. These suits are illegal in many jurisdictions on the grounds they impede freedom of speech. Benz's Motion to Strike is the legal equivalent of an anti-SLAPP lawsuit. The California anti-SLAPP law is designed to protect citizens from suits deemed as meeting the criteria for a SLAPP. Defamation cases are common applications of the statute. In her Motion to Strike, Benz, through her attorney, argues that, "Tony T. presents nothing more than generalized allegations of defamation," and that he "cannot prove [Benz] acted with actual malice." Tony T.’s attorney Karen Tynan told AVN  that she had yet to see Benz's filings, and therefore could not comment on them at press time. T.'s suit seeks unspecified damages and claims Benz’s statements were untrue. Brazzers and parent company MindGeek USA are also named as defendants in T.'s suit, which additionally charges intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with economic advantage for Tony T. Tynan presented a viewing in January for select industry members of the "raw footage" from the December 19 shoot in question, for the purpose of "transparency" and "the opportunity to draw your own conclusions.” Previously, Brazzers had released multiple statements concerning Benz's Twitter allegations including, "This particular type of scene would never meet our standards and would be rejected immediately," and "It appears that some of the alleged conduct could have occurred, and we took immediate measure to sever our relationship with the producer in question. Not only have we terminated all existing professional engagements with the producer, but any possibility for any future endeavors with this producer have also been quashed." The company has declined to comment about the suit.  A case management conference is set for May 16 in Los Angeles and an early 2018 trial date is projected. However, Benz's attorney, Lisa L. Maki, told AVN that "Nikki Benz looks forward to her day in court."

 
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