Rob Lowe and Wife Sues Former Nanny for Defamation

Actor Rob Lowe and his wife Sheryl have gone to Los Angeles Superior Court to seek damages against their former nanny, Laura Boyce on claims of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and other claims. They are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. The complaint is linked below.

In a blog on The Huffington Post, Lowe called the case one of “household betrayal.” This theme was picked up in the filing which states that The effect of her betrayal reaches far beyond possibly marring the Lowes’ image in the public eye, but has already caused a tremendous amount of harm to the entire family . . . The Lowes bring this suit to set the record straight and to take a
stand against all those who, by betraying the confidences of those they work for, celebrity or not, seek to capitalize on their positions for their own financial benefit and to the emotional and financial detriment of their employers.”

They accuse Boyce of spreading malicious lies about them and violating their confidentiality contract. The latter may be their strongest claim due to the Lowe’s status as a public figure. As for defamation, he may be able to satisfy the New York Times v. Sullivan standard, but it is a higher standard than the one applied to ordinary people — requiring a showing of actual knowledge or reckless disregard of the truth.

The complaint below is very ambiguous on the specific statements made or the alleged “scheme” that she hatched to harm the family. It describes the nanny’s disappearance and later refusal to respond to call — leading to the alleged discovery of a scheme involving Boyce and presumably others.

For a copy of the complaint, click here.

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3 thoughts on “Rob Lowe and Wife Sues Former Nanny for Defamation”

  1. This suit reminds me of that ridiculous suit filed by a judge against a mom-and-pop cleaners for an insane amount ($50 million or more, I think?) over a pair of lost PANTS. I couldn’t believe a judge could actually be that stupid. Thank goodness another judge had the common sense to dismiss it. This one may go the same way.

  2. For a little recreation, I strolled through the Complaint filed by Rob Lowe et ux against that “deep pocket” nanny of theirs. I see nothing to justify a million or so in damages for defamation, breach of loyalty, infliction of emotional distress (both varieties)or breaches of the duties of loyalty or confidentiality. There are no facts plead (but lots of nice commentary on the times and the sad circumstances of celebrities whose privacy is constantly being invaded. Query: why did they want to be celebrities then in the first place? No matter.) In Virginia, the pleading would be decidedly demurrable for plenty of reasons, not the least of which is that there is no recitation of the actual defamatory words spoken.

    A long time ago, a wise Judge called me into chambers when I had occasion to defend a mom and pop gas station against a Fortune 100 oil company that supplied the gas along with it’s company trade dress and promotional displays for the pumps and the convenience store. The mom & pop had not removed the signage and stickers fast enough and owed about $25,000.00 to the distributor. The claim was for the $25,000.00, injunctive relief, plus one million in compensatory and punitive damages that my client could never pay. The Judge had read the pleadings and asked about the suit. After an absolutely perfect recitation of the contract, the facts, and the applicable law by the counsel for the oil company, the Judge turned to me and asked me what sort of defense I planned. I told him quite simply that I was planning to remove the signs, work out a payment plan on the overdue balance, and trust in the jury to excuse the rest. The Judge looked back at plaintiff’s counsel and said “when the elephant sues the gnat, the gnat usually gets the jury — and sometimes the judge.” We settled that case the next day.

    Maybe I should write Rob Lowe.

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