Following earlier reports that Tom Cruise’s $50 million defamation lawsuit against In Touch and Life & Style magazines has moved into private mediation, it seems there’s a still a chance the case could be heard in open court.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Cruise filed a case in October last year against Bauer Media Group — the tabloids’ publisher — over allegations that he abandoned his six-year-old daughter Suri following his divorce from Katie Holmes.
Fast forward to February 2013, and intrusive discovery demands requested by both parties threatened to turn the case into a sensational gorge-fest. One with a plot featuring a seriously angry A-List actor, libel, a little girl, Scientology, Shield Law, bigotry claims — and the small matter of journalistic integrity.
But as The Wrap reported, court documents filed on March 1 sent the case into private mediation and appeared to be a merciful end to an increasingly nasty, public drama.
Now it seems that may have been a hasty assumption.
Although the dispositive motion filed last month stated that the lawsuit would move to mediation if it wasn’t settled within 45 days of the pretrial conference, Huffington Post has since learned it’s unlikely Cruise’s legal team will make nice with Bauer.
The actor’s attorney, Bert Fields, told The Post on Wednesday that while it’s standard procedure to see if a case can first be resolved via private mediation, the case is still scheduled to go to court in April 2014. Fields added that he was “skeptical” about the possibility of a settlement.
Reasons for that may center on the sheer viciousness of the way the case has tracked since it began. Back in October, Fields told TMZ that Cruise intended to donate any money he received from the lawsuit to charity. The lawyer further described In Touch and Life & Style as “smut peddlers.”
“Tom is a caring father who dearly loves Suri. She’s a vital part of his life and always will be. To say he has ‘abandoned’ her is a vicious lie. To say it in lurid headlines with a tearful picture of Suri is reprehensible. Tom doesn’t go around suing people. He’s not a litigious guy. But when these sleaze peddlers try to make money with disgusting lies about his relationship with his child, you bet he’s going to sue.”
For their part, Bauer have never backed down from their claims that the stories about Cruise abandoning Suri were “substantially true,” and insisted that their publications “do not assert verifiably false facts, and/or constitute rhetorical hyperbole or subjective statements of opinion.”
Throw in the clear baiting behind Bauer’s discovery demands for intimacies about Suri’s “mental and emotional state” post divorce and Cruise’s Scientology affiliation, stacked against the actor’s intent to explore Bauer’s alleged “history of bigotry and hatred toward minority religious groups and their members” — and it’s clear this lawsuit has gone far beyond a standard celebrity tiff against a pesky media outlet.
The language alone suggests each side considers their positions to be based on immovable principles. The kind that may yet see this battle fought in open court.