Prince Harry and Megan Markle may have a fierce battle on their hands, which may not work in their favor if their recent invasion of a privacy complaint against the nasal paparazzi ever sees a trial.
Last week, in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on behalf of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and received by Fox News, attorney Michael J. Kump said the filing stemmed from an alleged “serial invasion of privacy” of a 14-month-old child in his own home, other than “the desire and responsibility of either parent to do what is necessary to protect their children from this fabricated frantic feeding.”
Markle, 38, and Harry, 35, said the tabloids̵7; harassment finally came to mind when they saw a photo of their son Archie being offered to the media, which was allegedly taken on a family trip to Malibu when he was filmed in their backyard. unknown to them.
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“Every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home. No drones, helicopters or telephoto lenses can take that right away, “Kump told Fox News on Thursday.” The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are suing to protect their young son’s right to privacy in their home without the intervention of photographers. also to detect and stop those who seek to profit from these illegal actions. “
According to the complaint, Sussexes is suing three different defendants, John K, hoping to identify the guilty photographer and inform any potential buyers that such images were taken illegally. They also order any illegal photos of Archie to be returned immediately and demand compensation and damages for additional action.
Speaking to Fox News, the high-power trial of Tom Lallas of Levy, Maly and Lallas in Los Angeles – who is not involved in the case – said: “I do not want the validity of their claims to be lost in shuffling and layering with many nuances, but against whom will they win? It’s like planning a heavyweight fight, but not inviting another boxer to the ring. “
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Lallas, acting lawyer for the late Marvel icon Stan Lee before his death, described Markle and Harry’s lawsuit for the confidentiality of lawsuits against the three accused John Doe as “extremely unusual” and “extraordinary”, based on the method used by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to suffocate any distribution of photographs of their baby son, Archie, 1, in their backyard, which they believe was illegally confiscated using long lenses, drones and helicopters.
“We have studied the complaint, and it is extremely unusual. And, I mean, I do not mean that the complaint does not specify any specific defendant – neither a legal entity nor an individual, “- said Lallas. “This is the first time I’ve seen it in 45 years of law practice.”
Lallas said that the presentation of confidentiality is “extraordinary” because the legal system in the United States is based on what is called an adversarial system – the concept of the existence of at least two parties, consisting of a group of plaintiffs and a group of defendants.
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“The purpose of this adversarial system is for the parties to invest in legitimate legal rights that they will protect and exercise before cases that are prosecuted in civil proceedings arise,” Lallas explained. “It simply came to our notice then. There are plaintiffs, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Megan, but there are no defendants at the table. “
Lallas objected: “What do we have? In my opinion, it is always important to assess the purpose of the plaintiffs in the trial. The first question:” Do they really expect to get a decision and recover [photos] from the paparazzi? ‘And as a lawyer in the case, my answer would be audible:’ No. No way. ‘”
The lawyer stressed that he is a longtime peer of attorneys Markle and Harry, representing attorneys Dale Kinsella and Michael J. Kump, whom he respected as “impeccable” and “widely respected.”
Lallas said he certainly understood the grounds for filing a lawsuit of this nature and explained that the current statutes of confidentiality created an arena for such an opportunity.
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“There is a principle in litigation that you can call defendant Doe a party, and that’s under section 474 of the Code of Civil Procedure,” Lallas said. “And the idea is that – let’s say you get in a car, you have a car accident, you have a car license plate, but you don’t know who the driver was. Well, if you have a license plate, you can identify the registered owner, and then sue the registered owner and call the driver the defendant Doe, where you are going to get a discovery that will allow you to identify the driver of the defendant Doe. “
“But at least there you know who is one of the parties, and you properly name the party that is responsible,” he continued. “In this case, the plaintiffs would not have known the face of the paparazzi if he had entered their front door with a bouquet of flowers.”
Based on personal experience, Lallas believes that the case of Markle and Harry has no “reasonable expectations”.
“The paparazzi or a few paparazzi are just a couple of guys with cameras, and the likelihood that these guys with cameras have some significant assets that would make up for any significant economic damage, whether natural, punitive or otherwise, is dead. upon arrival “. he said.
“So how are they going to achieve what they want to achieve?” he reasoned, explaining that the period within which the plaintiff must lodge a complaint is usually 60 days. However, some “accommodating, lenient and liberal” judges may set a time limit of 90 to 180 days to serve a summons and complaint.
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“But think about the impossibility of this – do not serve anyone,” – said Lallas, calling the complaint “a fishing expedition.”
“In essence, in the opening – which deals with the deposit, submission of requests for documents and receipt of documents and submission of interrogations, and there is a principle that it must be adapted to the specific allegations of the complaint and issues discussed in court, and it can not to be just a fishing expedition, “Lallas said.
The firm partner added: “This is the most important fishing expedition, because if you trust the plaintiffs and their lawyer in this case, they have filed a civil lawsuit without naming a specific defendant who would try to open it, and how would they do it?”
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“They will file subpoenas and notice of deposit and try to take third-party deposits to expose paparazzi or parties responsible for placing drones over the backyards of Prince Harry and Megan Markle, but without any habitual protection in a civil lawsuit when in a competitive context. there are two parties who have legitimate interests and rights of defense, “Lallas said. “That’s why I’ve never seen a more obvious fishing expedition, which is derived from the fact that there are no specific defendants named in this action.”
Lallas argued that Harry and Markle were involved in a “calculated strategy” to allegedly create a “cold effect” not only for paparazzi seeking to unload allegedly illegal images of Archie for big profits, but also for tabloids that scare them away by creating probable financial penalties for involvement in such behavior. “
Lallas said the case was somewhat ironic in the sense that Harry and Markle, on behalf of their son, “wanted to avoid unwanted publicity,” but on the other hand, the mechanism they chose was to create more publicity to try. to create a brand in the public arena that allows the paparazzi tabloids to know that they will exercise their legal rights wherever they take them. ”
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“And I think it’s pretty obvious when trying to evaluate the strategy and approach that they’re looking for advertising that will create a dizzying effect to try to create their privacy,” he said.
Lallas likened the idea of a media object to obtaining and publishing photos from a source so that a journalist would fall on their sword to protect the identity of their own sources.
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He added: “There is a real question as to whether such a lawsuit can ever successfully determine who the paparazzi are, who took the pictures. It is an open question. It is a peculiar, unorthodox, unusual situation where there is probably no real probability of financial and economic recovery. and therefore it should be assessed on the basis of what other goals lawyers and plaintiffs are trying to achieve. “
In addition, Lallas said that based on statutes 1708.8 “A” and “B” of the Civil Code, which protects the right to privacy and is designed to prevent the use of devices to intrude into areas of reasonable expectations of privacy, which is essential for Harry and Markle the claims are very clear.
“It’s not just royalties – it’s us in the backyard,” he said. “In terms of policy, California has concluded that we should have reasonable expectations of privacy rights protected from intrusion and intrusion by outsiders who have no legitimate intent in trying to obtain content or insults and similarities.”
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“Therefore, I believe that there is no doubt that they have legal rights worthy of protection. They just don’t do it – it’s an old story that we don’t know what we don’t know. And they have no idea who is responsible here. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report