Jury rules for Kardashians in California trial
A jury has handed the Kardashians a landslide victory in former reality TV star Blac Chyna’s lawsuit against them.
The Los Angeles jury found that none of the members defamed Chyna or interfered with her contract by convincing E! network to cancel its “Rob & Chyna” reality show.
The four Kardashian defendants – Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner – attended almost the entire trial, but when the verdict was read, all were in New York at the Met Gala, where this year’s theme was ” Gilded Glamour”.
Chyna was in court for the verdict. She had no visible reaction.
After about 10 hours of deliberation, jurors decided on the lengthy jury form that the Kardashians often acted in bad faith, finding they were not justified in telling ‘Rob & Chyna’ executives and producers that Chyna had abused their son and brother Rob Kardashian. But they found that it had no substantial effect on Chyna’s contract or the fate of the show, and she received no compensation.
The executives of E! network, which aired the show, testified that “Rob & Chyna” ended because the relationship ended, not because of the defendants’ actions.
Kardashian attorney Michael G. Rhodes said the family was “exuberant” when he called to tell them the news.
“They are very happy,” Rhodes said. “I hope they enjoy their gala in New York.”
Chyna’s attorney, Lynne Ciani, said that based on her reading of the verdict, “the jury found that Chyna did not physically abuse Rob Kardashian” and “the jury found that the four defendants intentionally interfered with his contract with E! Network.”
“We will appeal on the remaining issues,” she added.
The jury was twice sent back to deliberate further when it was found that on some issues in the case against Kylie Jenner the vote had been 8-4 when at least 9-3 was required in the civil case, but they quickly came back with 9-3 votes and the result remained unchanged.
Jurors were considering the defamation case against Kris Jenner, Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, after a judge dismissed the part of the lawsuit against Kim Kardashian amid deliberations.
All four women testified during the nine-day trial.
The lawsuit largely focused on allegations that Chyna violently attacked her then-fiancé and reality TV co-star Rob Kardashian one night and morning in December 2016. beat with a metal rod. She testified that she put the noose around her neck and playfully held the gun as the two celebrated the renewal of their reality show, and when the celebration turned into an argument, she never was violent against him.
But the legal issues the jury considered were all about the aftermath of that fight. Jurors had to decide whether each of the defendants knowingly lied about the abuse when talking about it with producers and executives overseeing “Rob & Chyna,” or talking about it with a reckless disregard for the truth. And they had to decide for each defendant whether those communications were unlawful interference with Chyna’s contract to appear on the show.
In her closing argument, Ciani argued that it was unreasonable for the four women to believe her client violently attacked her former fiancé Rob Kardashian.
“He had no marks on him,” Ciani told jurors. “There was no call to the police, no trips to the hospital, not even a bandage.”
Rhodes argued during her closing that women had every reason to believe accounts of the attack on Rob Kardashian and Kris Jenner’s longtime boyfriend Corey Gamble, who arrived at the scene and broke up the dispute.
“Do you remember how Rob looked on the stand? His pain was real,” Rhodes said. “It’s a real family. Yes, they are famous, but they are real people. He was injured very badly here.
It emerged during the trial that Gamble would prove to be the key defense witness. But TV executives and producers whose testimony was often technical and entirely drama-free, would prove more important in the jury’s findings, rendering stories of woman abuse largely irrelevant.
The jurors were free to make it a split decision — finding against some of the Kardashians but not others.
They instead swept the family away and gave nothing to Chyna.
She had asked for up to $108 million in the lawsuit. A punitive damages phase that would have been triggered by a plaintiff victory will not occur now.
The 5-year lawsuit overcame many hurdles, including motions to dismiss and settlement talks between the two sides, and even took a long time to go to trial.
But the final hurdle, convincing a jury, proved too difficult to overcome.
The case is not entirely over for Chyna, however. Separate allegations in the lawsuit against Rob Kardashian, with him as the sole defendant, have been split into a separate trial that will likely begin in about a week.
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