Tom Cruise Goes To War With Publishers Over Accusations That He ‘Abandoned’ Suri

Tom Cruise is suing publishers Bauer Media Group in a $50 million defamation lawsuit over accusations in one of its titles — Life & Style magazine — claiming the oblivion star abandoned his daughter after his divorce from Katie Holmes.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles’ District Court in LA and related specifically to Life & Style’s July 30, 2012 cover, which headlined, “Suri In Tears, Abandoned By Her Dad,” along with a picture of the little girl crying.

In response to the suit, which was filed by Cruise in October last year, Bauer have hit back with discovery demands the star will surely find highly invasive.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that one of the reasons public figures and/or celebrities are loathe to go up against tabloids is the reality that they will be subjected to a rigorous discovery process.

In addition, Cruise’s legal team will have to prove that Bauer knew the claims about him “abandoning” Suri were false in order to establish libel.

Attorney Alonzo Wickers, acting for Bauer, has demanded details on:

A) The extent to which Cruise was in contact with Suri following his separation and divorce from Holmes.

B) The expectations for Cruise’s contact and visitation schedule with Suri and the terms of the divorce agreement.

C) The role that Cruise’s membership in the Church of Scientology played in his decisions regarding his visitation and communication with Suri.

D) Suri’s mental and emotional state following the separation and divorce.

E) Cruise’s claim and litigation history.

Bauer is also asking for full disclosure about the extent of Cruise’s involvement in the Church of Scientology, and how his relationship with the church affected his communications with Suri, Daily News reports.

At the time of the initial October filing, Cruise’s lawyer, Bert Fields, said of his client:

“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.”

As well as requesting that Bauer give up the identities of the sources that spoke to Life & Style and a full reveal of the communication trail between them, Fields has asked for specifics on:

A) Bauer’s policies and practices with respect to obtaining information, paying for sources, verifying the credibility of sources with whom the writers and editors haven’t spoken.

B) Bauer’s practice of publishing stories about Cruise.

C) Bauer’s history of bigotry and hatred toward minority religious groups and their members.

THR reports that according to a document filed Thursday, Bauer will attempt to use the journalistic shield law to protect the identity of its sources. [The full court document can be seen here.]

Ramping up the nastiness of the case is a recent The Wrap report alleging Bauer Media, a German company, hold assets related to Neo-Nazis. Some observers think those allegations — and Cruise’s Scientology affiliations — could be the reason for the inclusion of the “bigotry” wording by Cruise.

Tom Cruise Goes To War With Publishers Over Accusations That He 'Abandoned' Daughter Suri

The deadline for non-expert discovery is October 13. However, dispositive motions — a motion seeking a trial court order entirely disposing of one or more claims in favor of the plaintiff without further trial court proceedings — are due no later than February 28, 2014.

If the Cruise-Bauer suit does not resolve in a settlement and the case does go to trial, legal analysts estimate it could last around five days.

Seven-year-old Suri resides with her mother in Manhattan, New York, but Cruise has extensive visitation rights under the terms agreed in their divorce which was finalized on July 9, 2012.

Cruise’s image took a public battering after his whirlwind divorce from Holmes, even by his standards, so it says something about these accusations that this notoriously private actor has decided Life & Style’s “story” was a story too far.