Duchess Meghan ‘lost’ the first round of her lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and HRH The Countess of Wessex attends the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph on Sunday 10 November 2019

A week ago, the Duchess of Sussex’s lawyer was going head-to-head with the Mail on Sunday’s lawyer in a preliminary hearing for Meghan’s lawsuit against the MoS. The lawsuit is stupidly complicated and it’s not just about MoS’s publication of Meghan’s letter to her toxic father Thomas Markle. From what I can understand (and I don’t know much about the British legal system), Meghan’s lawsuit tried to argue that the Mail manipulated her father into turning against her and possibly wrote “scripts” for Thomas to “say” in interviews. Which, frankly, I’ve long believed too. But the crux of the lawsuit is pretty basic: the MoS had no right to publish Meghan’s letter, regardless of the circumstances around it. And last week’s hearing was basically a preview of the arguments both sides will make in court. The hearing was requested by the MoS as a way to strike down certain arguments which would have been made by Meghan’s side. And the MoS “won” apparently – they successfully shot down part of the legal arguments Team Meghan would have made:

The publisher of the Mail on Sunday has won the first High Court skirmish in the Duchess of Sussex’s privacy claim against it over publication of a letter to her estranged father. Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers over five articles, two in the Mail on Sunday and three on MailOnline, which were published in February 2019 and reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to Thomas Markle, 75, in August 2018.

In a ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Warby struck out parts of Meghan’s case, following an application by Associated Newspapers at a hearing last week. However, the judge said those parts of the duchess’s case may be revived at a later stage if they are put on a proper legal basis.

The judge said: “Some of the allegations are struck out as irrelevant to the purpose for which they are pleaded. Some are struck out on the further or alternative ground that they are inadequately detailed. I have also acted so as to confine the case to what is reasonably necessary and proportionate for the purpose of doing justice between these parties.

“I do not consider that the allegations struck out on that basis go to the ‘heart’ of the case, which at its core concerns the publication of five articles disclosing the words of, and information drawn from, the letter written by the claimant to her father in August 2018. Some aspects of the case that I have struck out at this stage may be revived if they are put in proper form.”

A spokesman for the Duchess said the core elements of her privacy case have not changed despite the High Court’s decision, Sky News reports.

[From The Evening Standard]

From what I can make out, the judge basically told Meghan that she’s doing too much and to streamline and simplify her legal arguments for trial, and that if she produces additional evidence or whatever, she can possibly reintroduce some of the arguments and claims she made during the hearing. One of the MoS’s arguments was that Meghan, by her admission, had not actually spoken to her father since before the 2018 wedding, so she was presuming a lot about his state of mind. Which… I mean, fair point. She actually does need to streamline those kinds of arguments.

From Omid Scobie, the Sussexes’ biographer:

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks during a school assembly as part of a visit to Robert Clack School in Essex, on March 6, 2020, in support of International Women’s Day.  / == STRICTLY EMBARGOED == NO USE AND NO PUBICATION ON ANY PLATFORM UNTIL

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red and Backgrid.

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129 Responses to “Duchess Meghan ‘lost’ the first round of her lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday”

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  1. Ali says:

    Meghan just wanted to get the truth out there so this is a good first step.

    • lilly22 says:

      This comment is what may be her failing in this lawsuit. With civil lawsuits, especially those in the UK where a judge not a jury proceeds, the law needs to be the paramount concern. Keep in mind the public is not deciding the case, and a judge may not take too kindly to using his courtroom for public relations. I know there were a few stories about how this lawsuit was broader and showed a pattern of discriminatory behavior. However, legally this would be hard to prove, and it’s the weakest part of the argument. In addition it makes the case way too broad, which obviously the judge agreed. This is how she lost this point. Although, I wouldn’t call it a loss more of a denial to broaden core aspects of the lawsuit. Most lawyers knew they were going to narrow the scope to the most important matter, otherwise lawsuits would take even longer. Also, I doubt the judge will penalize Meghan’s team for this, unless they continue in a too broad way. Most lawyers start large and then depending on the judge pair it down to make their core points. It gives you a chance to see where the judge is on this type of case.

      I am a US lawyer and I thought the core part of the lawsuit was interesting and brought up pertinent issues with copyright and privacy. Even in the US where these kind of suits are harder to prove with our somewhat unique public figures laws, she still has a good chance. One potential legal argument against her is whether she released her copyright by not protesting the favorable press she received from the “friends” article with summations of the letter? Should the letter now be available as a rebuttal to that story? She denies having told her friends to speak to other outlets, which could be a moot legal point, although a good PR point, as her actions would mean more. I am making an educated guess her father released the letter to the tabloids and it wasn’t stolen or even “off the record”. Although, it did appear in some of the things I read Meghan’s team was asserting her father was coerced by the tabloids. It will be interesting which way they go with this aspect. This lawsuit seems far more interesting and winnable than Harry’s class action suit, which really just seems as if it is continuation of an older criminal and civil case. Although, a good cause it most likely will be settled for money. Meghan’s suit might change things overall with privacy and copyright. Sorry if this went too far in the legal area, but I think it gives you a perspective which isn’t just PR.

      • wondering says:

        @lilly22

        I read on another site, that the fact that MM hasn’t also sued People magazine may weaken her case, as it gives legitimacy to the notion that she authorised those leaks by her friends, in effect forcing TM to defend himself against those accusations. In my mind, the timeline somewhat supports that, because he had the letter for many months before he allowed it to be published and it was in response to the People article.

        I’d be really interested to hear a legal perspective around it…

      • Chelle says:

        @Lilly22 – Thanks for this perspective.

      • blue36 says:

        Sue people magazine for what though? People did not publish the letter, they only talked about the fact that she sent one to her father despite allegations by her own father saying that he was not able to contact her. The DM legit published parts of her letter without her consent with him saying he had to defend himself – against what though? The fact that he lied multiple times and she did in fact try to contact him, but he was the one who ignored her? What’s the DM going to do to push this case forward? – force people magazine to reveal their sources? People magazine would fight hard against that.

      • wondering says:

        @blu36

        As @lilly22 writes:

        One potential legal argument against her is whether she released her copyright by not protesting the favorable press she received from the “friends” article with summations of the letter? Should the letter now be available as a rebuttal to that story? She denies having told her friends to speak to other outlets, which could be a moot legal point, although a good PR point, as her actions would mean more.

        She did not authorise her friends to release details of the letter, or give People magazine the right to publish it. In my mind, it weakens her case as she did not have an issue when there was favourable coverage.

        But as I asked above, i’d be interested in the legal perspective, not the moral or ethical arguments and justifications around what she did and why she did it.

      • lilly22 says:

        I don’t think whether she sued People over the “friends” article is necessary. Also, I agree in the US, suing People is not a viable case as most of the article is opinion . The issue is the copyright, and if she released it. From what I have read this seems to be the tabloids defense too. Technically the writer of a letter retains the copyright, but it could be argued she released the copyright and her father was only using the letter to show the true story which was detrimental to him. The People article used a summation of the letter, which on its face looks to be beneficial to her, however, I’m not so sure. A summary could be interpreted as biased. The tabloid used actual wording from the letter to defend him.

        From a logical point if a famous person wrote a letter to someone, then instructed her PR or friends to summarize the letter to the press in a positive spin for herself while negative to the recipient. Wouldn’t the recipient of said letter have the right to dispute the information with the letter itself? The question is did you release your copyright by letting it be used for a positive purpose for you. This is why Meghan’s intent at not instructing her “friends” is important. As they are trying to prove she always intended for this to be private and her copyright valid. Although, there are a few ways as I previously stated against Meghan’s intent too. Now here are a few things she could have done to bolster her copyright intention. A cease and desist letter to People acknowledging the copyright at that time. Also, if she put the copyright symbol on her letter to her father. Obviously, they seem extreme and one a bit weird, but if done, they could bolster her intention. I do believe she has a better than 50% chance of winning in the UK, cause they have some privacy laws which are stronger than the US. Also, as some on here have said if she was in the US, the judge or jury might have a hard time being convinced she had nothing to do with the “friends” article, especially with it being celebrity nice outlet People. Even on this site some thought she orchestrated it through her pr people and friends, which she legally denied doing in this lawsuit. In the US, I feel her chances would be a bit under 50% due to our slander laws for public figures. Still it is a murky area, and it will be interesting how this plays out.

      • marni112 says:

        Lily 22 Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful commemts .

      • I just have a real problem with this whole ‘cohersion of her father’ point that Meghan has in her lawsuit. It would seem to me to be extremely hard to prove and thus Adding it just diffuses the focus from the case against the publishing issue. Why would she add this in? It’s like she wants to believe her father is not responsible for his own actions. Even if she has hard evidence about his medical or mental issues, he has already stated he’s willing to testify against her —- so why even go there with ‘was he or was he not cohersed?’ He’s already been shown to be a liar, so I imagine if he testifies he will lie on the stand. Maybe Meghan just won’t let herself face the ugly truth of her father and that he is hellbent on hurting her.

    • blue36 says:

      But the case isn’t about favourable coverage, its about copyright though? Let’s just say she wanted to sue people magazine – what would she sue them for? I’m not a legal expert here either, but discussing the letter (at least from what I’ve read) isn’t lawsuit worthy.

      • lilly22 says:

        I don’t think she has a viable lawsuit against People, although not having a viable lawsuit hasn’t stopped everyone. I would guess the person above who read somewhere she needed to sue would have her sue for copyright infringement too on the letter. Theoretically People did say what the letter was about even it it was in an opaque way. Keep in mind, People is a US publication, and the laws are a bit different, but still that would be a crazy lawsuit destined to lose. Also, a much easier way would just be a letter stating the letter to her father was her copyright and private and to please not publicize the letter or any of its contents anymore. It would probably hold the same weight. I know this may sound odd coming from a lawyer, but you don’t always have to sue on a lot of things. Sometimes other avenues work as well.

  2. Priscila Bezerra-Fischer says:

    Meghan should claim ” human rights law” like Willie did…lol

  3. Rae says:

    Still rooting for her in the long run.

    • Lara says:

      Losing is part and parcel of being a lawyer. We had a case where we lost basically every single motion and still won at trial.

      • Charlie says:

        It’s not a win-lose moment.

        It’s like having your editor send notes and revisions/omissions. It should help her lawyers focus, find stronger case law, and draw stronger parallels with legal precedents. You don’t get a best seller from a first draft.

  4. Becks1 says:

    Well the crux of her lawsuit can go forward, and she can raise these issues again it sounds like, just with more legal basis, so while this is a “loss” it doesn’t seem like it’s a big one.

    • Aria says:

      I dont understand does this case dismissed or will they proceed further ?? What is mean that Meghan lost ??

      • Becks1 says:

        No, it was a preliminary hearing, and it seems the judge is telling Meghan and her team to stick to the basics of the case right now.

      • Mac says:

        I am not familiar with the British legal system, but the Fail published original work without permission. That seems like a straightforward case, no?

      • Becks1 says:

        @Mac – I’m a lawyer but in the US, so I don’t know the specifics, but my understanding is that the Fail cant publish original work without permission, UNLESS an exception applies. The fail is saying this was okay due to a public interest exception.

    • Lara says:

      @Becks
      I commented on this in another article, would like to hear your take on it:

      Took a brief skim of the judge’s order and from a US point of view, he raises some good points.

      Also, the judge is practically inviting Meghan’s lawyers to amend their claim: “Some of these conclusions are however without prejudice to the claimant’s right to come back with an application for permission to make amendments that apply to the applicable law and principles.” His analysis (again, from a US point of view) basically lays out a roadmap on how Meghan’s lawyers can remedy some of the portions which were struck out.

      Should her lawyers elect to amend her claim, with the right phrasing and taking the judge’s concerns into account, I think there’s a fair chance their application to amend would be granted.

      • Becks1 says:

        That was my take on it too – that the judge isn’t saying there’s no reason to bring these things up, it just needs to be clearer. I think Meghan’s team was maybe trying to jump too far ahead and anticipate the MoS strategy too much, and the judge seems to be saying to slow down and stick to the basics and “you can bring these things up again if warranted in the future.”

      • Nic919 says:

        I read that as the judge saying some parts could be amended as well. The main copyright infringement allegations were never touched and that’s what her case was always about anyway.

      • Lara says:

        @Becks
        Definitely think that’s possible, but I wonder if her lawyers were also using the hearing as a test to see how sympathetic the judge might be to a full blown defamation case. From the judgment, I think he’s fairly sympathetic. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t include such an explicit invitation for Meghan’s lawyers to amend their claims.

      • Susan says:

        They didn’t plead defamation in the first place so it’s unlikely they would now. What happened is they tried to backdoor defamation like allegations relating to damages onto her copyright claims without making the core claim of a defamation suit…that the things printed were untrue. Sure, she could try and do it now but clearly they must have thought through all of their possible claims for recovery long ago and decided that the copyright claim and privacy claim were the best they had. It makes no sense that they wouldn’t have claimed the stories were libelous in the first place if they had the evidence to support that.

      • Lara says:

        I think it’s possible they might file a defamation claim. I’m not sure how litigation strategy plays out in the UK, but this hearing seems like a reasonable risk for H&M to take to see if they had enough to bring a defamation claim. If the judge threw it out completely, they wouldn’t pursue it and stay with the copyright/privacy. It would save H&M from blowing through money on a claim they would not win. If the judge was receptive, they could make the decision to invest the time and money to go forward.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but what you’re saying makes it sound like H&M could/should only bring such a claim if they had ironclad proof showing that the Mail had clear, indisputable intent to malign Meghan. In that case, what would the point of discovery be, except perhaps to bolster the already existing evidence?

        This could be a situation where the attorneys think there is enough to make a case but cannot guarantee the desired outcome at court. The cost of Meghan losing a defamation suit- having the claims thrown out from the beginning- would be devastating. So instead, they frame things in a very specific way and see how things play out at the hearing.

      • Susan says:

        No Lara, I’m not saying they shouldn’t bring a case unless it’s iron clad. I’m saying they themselves chose not to bring the case. That speaks to what they thought they could win.

    • Snappyfish says:

      It’s procedure. Happens in every trial.

  5. Sofia says:

    Like I said in another post I hope this is a case of “They’ve won the battle but not the war.” I am and will continue to root for her to win. I hope she does because if not I worry about the state of the legal system if a Duchess and member of the royal family can’t get justice

  6. Belli says:

    Odds on the Fail publishing articles that try to make it sound like they’ve won the entire court case?

    • Yamayo says:

      She will have to pay their legal costs so they will call it a win for sure.

      • SomeChick says:

        No, she won’t.

        This was a preliminary hearing. It is a very typical legal strategy to float as many things as possible at first. This is how it works.

        She has not “lost” nor has she been ordered to pay anything.

      • NeutralObserver says:

        @SomeChick, yes she does have to pay them even at this early stage.

        From Newsweek: “Sources on Meghan’s side said they were yet to be formally told how much they will have to pay, but the Daily Mail website lists the figure at £50,000 ($62,600), suggesting that is what they will ask for.”

        Lawyers for Associated Newspapers wrote to Meghan’s team in early April and said that the hearing should be avoided at all costs if possible because of the pandemic. They offered to not seek costs if the disputed parts of her case–the parts they have just won on–were withdrawn. Her lawyers responded that she found the offer “unreasonable.”

        So she hasn’t lost the war, but she is out this round and some money.

      • GreenQueen says:

        @yamayo Please read before you comment.

    • Olenna says:

      The Fail already has, calling the decision a ‘massive’ setback. As expected, the loudest of the anti-Sussex RRs like Chris Sh*t and Lil’ Dickie Palmer are not reporting the decision fully and honestly, thus encouraging the deplorables to sound off with their hate-filled glee. Just as the Evening Standard described this as a ‘skirmish’, this case is far from over.

  7. Ariel says:

    I hope she bankrupts that bottom feeding racist trash.

    • Flamingo says:

      I believe the most she can win is $60k, that will hardly bankrupt them. This is one of those cases that’s for moral standing only.

    • Susan says:

      She’s going to have the pay the Mail’s fees for Friday’s hearing since the Mail had offered to let her cut back the claims without cost to avoid the hearing.

  8. Ginger says:

    I’m not a legal expert at all but I am not surprised by this. The lawsuit has to do with printing her fathers letter and that’s what it is sticking to. Everyone knows this is part of a smear campaign but that is not what this lawsuit is about. Hopefully down the road she will bring a lawsuit to the DM and other tabloids for the obvious smear campaign.

    • Flamingo says:

      I don’t practice in the UK, but I do frequently handle workplace harassment cases which often have slander or libel thrown in. You can’t really sue someone for a smear campaign. You’d have to have some pretty solid examples of slander, libel, or both. They are both are very difficult to win in my area of practice. I think after this case is done, no matter what the outcome is, her attorneys will suggest to not go forward with any other media related cases unless they are an absolute slam dunk.

  9. Noodle says:

    I have not a legal mind in the least, and I’m asking our fellow CBers for insight here: Isn’t it normal in the beginning of any trial to float different scenarios, get a lot of evidence and threads introduced, then suffer through a judge striking out the less relevant parts of the case? You see that in some criminal trials, but I’m not sure if the same strategy works in civil cases. What say you, legal eagles?

    • Susan says:

      No it’s not normal to throw stuff out there without actually pleading a cause of action. It was kind of shambolic.

  10. AGreatDane says:

    The judge is a former lawyer a media conglomerate…

  11. Jen says:

    Court battles in the US tend to be long and drawn out with both sides often having small wins that ultimately aren’t that consequential. So obviously British courts are different, but it sounds like this may be the same thing?

  12. Ruby_Woo says:

    Wow! I’m so glad I don’t follow the RR anymore; they’ll no doubt be spinning this as a great victory for freedom of speech.

    On a completely different note, does anyone know when this year’s royal public funds expenditure is going to be released? I remember that around this time last year, there was a massive fuss about Frogmore Cottage.

  13. Ruby_Woo says:

    Wow! I’m so glad I don’t follow the RR anymore; they’ll no doubt be spinning this as a great victory for freedom of speech.

    On a completely different note, does anyone know when this year’s royal public funds expenditure is going to be released? I remember that around this time last year, there was a massive fuss about Frogmore Cottage.

  14. Harper says:

    I predict this little “win” by the MOS will be forgotten in the long term. Sounds as if litigating dishonesty is the crux and perhaps it was a long shot on the part of Meghan’s legal team, knowing that it might get struck down beforehand.

  15. Ruby_Woo says:

    Wow! I’m so glad I don’t follow the RR anymore; they’ll no doubt be spinning this as a great victory for freedom of speech.

    On a completely different note, does anyone know when this year’s royal public funds expenditure is going to be released? I remember that around this time last year, there was a massive fuss about Frogmore Cottage.

  16. Ruby_Woo says:

    Wow! I’m so glad I don’t follow the RR anymore; they’ll no doubt be spinning this as a great victory for freedom of speech.

    On a completely different note, does anyone know when this year’s royal public funds expenditure is going to be released? I remember that around this time last year, there was a massive fuss about Frogmore Cottage.

  17. Nev says:

    Head up Duchess!!!!

  18. Aria says:

    I said it in another post that I dont have any hope for Sussex because all judges in uk are white conservative and comes from elite background and these tabloids are buddy with them. I wont be surprised that if Sussex lost all their case against tabloids because the system is rigged only serve to white people.

    • Ines says:

      Wow, well… that’s a strong and sweeping statement.

    • February Pisces says:

      I’ve been very worried that she was never going to get a fair trial. I think there is so much corruption, and the fact people are scared to challenge these newspapers to me says they feel they don’t stand their chances of winning. For all we know this judge and these newspaper editors are Freemason buddies.

      • Aria says:

        Yes how trump and boris can get away with their crimes is very telling and its scary for people of colour like me whether the system is against us. If Meghan was full white she might win this case and there will no smear campaign too. Brf is very much involved in this judgement too because kp and ch might be afraid that leaks will lead back to them. How interesting is none of brf member never lost any case in uk but Sussex did is very telling.

    • Bella says:

      @ Aria
      What Ines said.

      What has happened is not that big a deal and doesn’t affect the meat of her case. The judge’s grounds for striking out the parts that he did were reasonable – no evidence of partisanship there. Nothing that he said indicated any prejudice against the Duchess of Sussex, he even explained how her side could reintroduce some of the claims.
      Judges in England & Wales are conservative, but not in a party political sense. They are not political appointments. It’s just that they are unwilling to go out on a limb, legally speaking.
      Any application to the court which will reduce the cost of a case is always likely to succeed because the cost to the public purse is always at the forefront of the judge’s mind.

      @ February Pisces
      The courts are one of the few institutions left that aren’t scared of the press barons or the government. Not sure how long this will last, obviously.

    • grumpy says:

      Everything you have just said is wrong. Go back to watching Downton Abbey.

    • Ines says:

      @Aria, your level of investment in this is scary. You need to take a step back, have a cup of tea, and stop writing nonsense.

  19. Mary says:

    Does this not mean that the Royal family has “won,” in that proscribing litigation of motives cuts out discovery that could lead to revelation of leakers in and motivation of Royal households?

    • tempest prognosticator says:

      Good question.

    • Aria says:

      Yes very much and royals have very much involved in this case because they are afraid if mail lost and they will leak out the information and who is behind the smear campaign. The queen is above the law and if she really cared about harry she could have warned the press and they have easily won the case because it is her majesty court. From this we can clear see that brf is doing everything in its power to crush Sussex at every turn but I think this will lead to harry further walking away from his family because there are no record of brf losing case in uk. Surely this might be first and queen has the power to infer into the court case like she did it with diana paul guy.

      • Flamingo says:

        It’s her majesty’s court? That’s not how the legal system works. The queen is a figurehead, she’s not like the supreme court or something.

      • Aria says:

        But queen has lot of power in uk behind the scenes. Many will obey queens order though out of respect.

      • SomeChick says:

        Dude. You are writing novels here. That is not how it works.

        1) Legal cases go through numerous phases and this is totally normal.

        2) TQ does not run the courts.

        3) If it comes out in court (evidence; testimony on the stand) it becomes a matter of public record. It isn’t “leaking.”

        4) The DF will never detach its lips from the BRF’s butts.

        Please, don’t make all of these baseless assertions. Court cases are about the facts; the law; and how well the attorneys present their cases.

      • Olenna says:

        @SomeChick,
        Thank you. I’m seeing a lot of overreaction and misguided comments from Sussex fans on SM, and its almost as aggravating as reading the haters’ uninformed and misinformed opinions. When it comes to legal matters, it would help everyone who wants to continue to follow the couple in a positive way for people to seek out and read reliable resources, do a little research on legal processes, then put their reasoned thoughts to print.

      • Aria says:

        @somechick and @ olenna, are you serious saying queen and palace have no power ?? Who are you kidding ?? The palace threatned the independent foreign free press , dont think you think she wont have any ally in her court. Queen and Charles has some power friends who will do them any favour. Willileaks and Andy scandals never touch the papers and queen sit back and watch it. The queen is also the one who shut down diana butler case when he started to leak and spell the secret and to keep his mouth shut , the palace gave him permission to write about diana. Royal family is above the law in uk whether you believe it or not. Queen and palace would have easily shout down these tabloid nonsense when they have previous did with willileaks, jecca, botox and andy . But sure when it comes to Sussex brf is useless.

      • Mary says:

        @aria, never-you-mind @somechick and @olenna, they are just practicing that age-old craft of being ignorant, pissy and condescending all at the same time. I think you understood my question better than they did. Forgive me if I am wrong but is English not your first language? If not you are doing an admirable job, I just think some things may be getting lost in the translation and some people are getting unreasonably angry at you about it.

        @somechick, no, the facts, law and presentation are not all that matters in a case. It is the Issues/Claims raised that determine the law applied and which facts are relevant to the issues at hand. Discovery is limited to finding relevant facts.

        Many of us were hoping that this case, through discovery, would bring to light some of the machinations and leaking of Royal households against the Sussexes. That seems unlikely now given that the court has struck out the issues that would lead to such discovery. Unless Meghan’s attorneys can repair the deficits the court cited, it looks like only the very narrow issue of the action of publication of the letter is before the court.

        Also, I don’t know where you all live but the notion of a corrupt judge is not far-fetched. I live in the States and am very aware of some judges making decisions based not on the law but their personal beliefs. That is corruption, imo. Ruggiero Aldisert (who taught judges/justices how to write opinions) used to refer to “result-oriented opinions,” in which a judge makes a preliminary decision in a case and then writes an opinion to fit the law and facts to the decision/result desired. These are easy to spot; and, it happens all the time. If judges only examined the issues facts and law in a case then why is there such a tussle in the US about party-aligned judicial appointments?

        So, no, it is not far-fetched to think that some Brexiteer, Queen-loving, far-right Justice makes a decision with the aim of deciding against Meghan to the benefit of the Royal family.

  20. Charley says:

    Part of me wonders whether team Sussex always knew that it was a stretch getting these parts of the argument included in the case, but that they saw it as an opportunity to get the fact that Meghan had in fact tried to contact her father multiple times into the public domain- by releasing the texts they have shown her concern for her father and the fact that they warned him about the tabloids without having to give an interview etc

    • Bella says:

      I tend to agree with that theory.

      And in addition, they have drawn the attention of the judge to the newspaper’s smearing tactics.

      • Olenna says:

        Ditto. I believe the lawyers strategically threw all that sh*t the wall, so to speak, to see what sticks and get a better picture on the Fail’s defense strategy. Bonus, they got “guidance” from the judge on how to proceed (or not) with the claims that didn’t stick this round.

  21. yinyang says:

    Don’t worry Meghan! We know what you’ve gone through no human should have to go through, whether you win or lose, you’ve brought attention to this issue and for every 5 weirdo trash that says “I hate Meghan…I don’t know why I just do,” there’s one rational person waking up to the truth to those downright lies. Trashy people are happiest when they’re messing with people’s minds, let them be. You are fighting the good fight, for every little boy or girl that has been bullied for looking different or beig gay, for every person of colour that couldn’t get in in a sea of white, for every person that wakes up hating the world they live in, for every person that hates facing the world because it’s been too cruel and just want to die, you are fighting for them! Keep going!

    • songbirds_thrive says:

      Thanks for your words @yinyang! Meghan and Harry are fighting the good fight, regardless of what happens! And they knew from the very beginning that none of this would be easy.

      Also, let’s back up and realize that Meghan brought the suit against the Mail Online/ANL in early 2019. As always, there was an opportunity for the defendant to settle, but Mail Online gambled and decided not to settle. It was a big gamble they took, most likely thinking M&H would be persuaded by the royal firm to drop the suit. Mail Online gambled wrong and thought wrong!

      The royal firm’s lack of standing up for Meghan in the beginning, as soon as Meghan began being dragged and criticized in all of the British tabloids, is what led to the the Mail Online crossing the line with publication of that private letter. Once Harry made it clear to his family that he and Meghan were not going to sit back quietly and suffer abuse, the royals still thought they could push M&H around and get them to back down. In essence, M&H are going up against the British media and the British monarchy. That takes major cahones, courage, and out-of-this-world gumption. So kudos to them!

      Someone once said on social media, and I paraphrase: “Don’t mess with Prince Harry. He’s a soldier, he’s prepared to battle, and he ain’t taking no prisoners!”

      I would add: Prince Harry has got the family he always wanted, even beyond his wildest dreams. Don’t mess with him and his family! He told those tabloid mf’rs to back the F off from the very beginning. The crap Brit tabloids got no sense and they’re lowdown dirty and racist to boot. They deserve to be knocked down, big time.

      The other thing is that lack of support when it counted from his family is a big reason why Harry decided to leave royal life. Plus the palace leaks (chiefly from KP) against Harry & Meghan are the reason they cut off all representation by BP sources! M&H ain’t playing games, people! No matter what happens, M&H are taking a huge stand, and they are in the right, no question. This is true, no matter the legal wrangling and ongoing hate from racist trash, jealous trolls, and rabid rotten royal reporters.

      #ISTANDWITHTHESUSSEXES!

  22. C-Shell says:

    Byline Investigates does a good job of breaking this down with analysis by legal experts on the meaning of this ruling. Basically saying this is no big deal — the Mail articles appended to her claim to show malice would increase damages for aggravation, but the copyright/invasion of privacy claim doesn’t need proof of intent — so striking that element focuses the matter on her core claim(s). That said, the judge laid out a roadmap to amend and bring those elements back in if presented under the appropriate legal theory. Maybe libel. Maybe Willi’s human rights violations. I’m not familiar with UK libel law, but libel can generally be difficult to prove under the legal standards, and the Sussex’s counsel might have added those defamatory articles to bootstrap them onto their very solid claim of copyright, etc. IN ANY CASE, they got the truth and their defense against those lies out there in the public record, so that’s a victory IMO.

    • L4frimaire says:

      This doesn’t affect the core of the case and it seems the judge left the door open on some of the dismissed claims. Really hope they win this case and expose the tabloids and their vindictiveness in the process.

    • Susan says:

      The point is the articles appended would never have shown aggravation because they didn’t relate to her claims at all. She is free to file a defamation case, sure, but she didn’t.

  23. Taylor says:

    I don’t feel good about this case at all. I understand wanting to seek justice, but will it be worth further image tarnishing and abuse? Even if she wins, the Mail isn’t changing. Wishing her the best of luck anyway.

  24. Kelly says:

    This means nothing, Meghan will win her fight against the tabloids because they violated her privacy in publishing her letter without her permission.

  25. RoyalBlue says:

    nice to know the Mail can comfortably continue to print malicious content and lies about her. carry on. she is responsible for the shortages of the world’s avocados. but ah, they can’t print about rose bushes.

  26. Swack says:

    Article in the mail today states it was a “massive” loss.

  27. aquarius64 says:

    If this was a victory for the Fail the case would have been dismissed. It’s being streamlined. BUT… the Sussex book is coming out in August and possibly air the media grievances and the Markles. It will be public and it would allow Meghan’s lawyers to amend the suit. They’re not out of the woods yet.

    • Susan says:

      It was never on the table In this hearing for the case to be dismissed, so trying to claim that it’s a win for Meghan that the judge didn’t dismiss the case is nonsensical. This was a hearing on cutting back Meghan’s assertions as extraneous to her causes of action. That is what the judge ruled on in the Mail’s favor.

  28. AnnaKist says:

    Where is Geoffrey Robertson when you need him?? Find him. Meghan. He’ll sort it.

  29. kyliegirl says:

    The RR can’t contain their glee. They really think they are justified in their actions. Guess negative news sells. Hope Harry and Meghan never look back.

  30. bluemoonhorse says:

    Anyone who has been called for jury duty knows there is a lot of back and forth, much of which the jury doesn’t even see. There is always a jockeying over everything by the lawyers so this is par for the course of how a typical lawsuit is going to proceed.

  31. Amy says:

    I know nothing about the UK legal system but this doesn’t’ seem like a big deal and just normal legal back and forth. Am I wrong? I remember when I was on a jury this stuff would happen and it didn’t change the overall outcome.

    Again I could be wrong but this seems like normal legal back and forth and had a famous person not been involved we wouldn’t even have heard about it.

    • Susan says:

      If you already at the stage where a jury is empaneled, these type of hearings and motions wouldn’t even be happening. These are important, case defining, hearings that take place at the beginning and establish exactly what the case is going to be going forward. So yes, they are very important as they can make and break what you can argue in the case and on what grounds you can recover damages.

  32. pierre lecouteur says:

    I TRULY BELIEVE THAT MEGHAN WILL NOT HAVE A FAIR CHANCE OF WINNING BECAUSE I AM SURE THE THE DISGUSTING BRF HAS ALREADY PLANNED THE OUTCOME OF THIS TRIAL OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT HAS TO DO WITH MEGHAN IN THE UK THAT DISCUSTING EXCUSE OF A FAMILY DID NOT HELP WHEN POOR LITTLE ARCHIE WAS REFERENCED AS A CHIMP THEY WILL TRY AND DO WHAT THEY CAN TO DESTROY OR COMPLICATE EVERYTHING WHEN IT COMES TO MEGHAN KEEP YOUR HEAD UP MEGHAN YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN ALL OF THAT NASTY FAMILY PUT TOGETHER

    • The Quill says:

      The guy got fired. The Royal Family had nothing to do with this. They don’t have much power over the press. Look at all the crap written about them. Why blame the RF? It’s ridiculous.

      • Pierre Lecouteur says:

        THE BRF DOES HOLD POWER OVER THE PRESS AS LONG AS WILLILEAKS KEEPS GIVING THEM STORIES AND ACCESS TO PICS OF HIS KIDS (PIMPING OUT HIS KIDS) THE AND THEY KEEP COVERING FOR THE PEDO ANDREW CANE AND UNABLE KEEP WINNING ALL THEIR CASES WHEN MOST OF THE TIME THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE OH WILLY GETS CAUGHT TRIMMING ROSE BUSHES AND WITH ONE SIMPLE STATEMENT THE CHEATER WINS AS USUAL DOUBLE STANDARDS ONE FOR WILLY THE CHEATER AND ONE FOR HARRY AND HIS WIFE TOTALLY WRONG PERIOD

      • Royalwatcher says:

        @The Quill – He got hired back pretty quickly though.

        And, the BRF could certainly speak up if they wanted – like they have in other instances (not saying they would be listened to, but they could have at least asked for some peace for Meghan). Their silence on all things Meghan speaks volumes.

      • Nic919 says:

        The UK media blackout over even the mention of William having an affair shows they do have a lot of power over the media.

        I wouldn’t go so far to say that they could interfere with the judges. I realize it is possible, but the UK so far has an independent judiciary. This judge’s decision could be appealed if it was ridiculous but based on what was outlined, it does not seem to have been worth appealing.

        This was a minor procedural win for the papers, but the core of the claim is still there and it is still the most likely to be successful at trial.

    • GloryS says:

      I bet Charles and Camilla which they had had as much power over the press as you seem to think the RF. Not to mention randy Andy

  33. Linda says:

    Most lawsuits go through this kind of back and forth. The complainant throws out as much as they can to see what sticks. The Mail does not have a victory with this ruling. It’s just another step in the legal process.

  34. yinyang says:

    The judge is probably in cahoots with brf, isn’t everyone over on that side of the pond.

    I appreciate how Meghan is dealing with the lawsuit and still ACTIVLY supporting her charities, while the other couple is still holed up. W&K don’t even have the follow through for the clapping thing, eh.

    • Harper says:

      Yes, we haven’t seen Kate’s ZOOM face at all this week.

    • GloryS says:

      Yingyang, the judges most certainly are not and it may surprise you to know that a considerable proportion of the British public are not as interested as you in, or actively disagree with the idea of, the roual family.

      And this article is nothing to do with W&K

    • Alexandra says:

      yinyang, the judges are independent, it is going a bit too far to pretend British justice system could in any way take sides for the Royal family in this matter. Besides, most of the royal family has been subject to the most relentless abuse by the media for years, Charles for decades, Diana, Camilla, Prince Philip, Kate, the Middletons as well, nobody was more vilified than Camilla… But they have kept silent. That is what they do. It was absolutely no different with Meghan. Meghan was extremely welcomed by the Royal family, that is a well known fact. It is completely unfair and wrong to blame any of this on the royal family.

      • Islandgirl says:

        Sorry but the fact that many of the articles which smeared Meghan seemed to have originated from Courtiers or members of the BRF disputes your comments.
        The BRF were welcoming on the surface. Behind the scenes I think that things were very different.
        Also, there have been instances when they have responded to the press and articles, for example Kate’s wiglets, Kate’s botox.
        Further, in the midst of the smear about Meghan being the difficult Dichess, the palace only responded to the article which spoke to Kate taking Meghan to task about how she spoke to the staff. They said it did not happen. This suggested that all the other things happen.

        I am from the Caribbean and I am pretty disgusted by the Royal family at this point and so are a lot of my colleagues at work and friends.
        I really don’t think that the BRF and the BM realise how this looks from the outside.

  35. Ctgirl says:

    Unless Meghan put a copy write on the letter before she sent it, once the letter is in her father’s hands he owns the letter and the contents. Back in the day, this was one of the reasons that people would ask for their letters back if a relationship changed.

    • Syd says:

      If I’m not mistaken, he owns the physical copy but SHE actually has copyright over the content of the letter.

    • Sofia says:

      From what I know: that’s not how it works. It’s sort of like if JK Rowling gave you a copy of a Harry Potter book. You can do whatever you like with it: burn it, shred it, use it as toilet paper etc etc but if you try to publish it, that’s when you get in trouble because the actual words aren’t yours.

    • Harper says:

      Copyright belongs to the writer. There is no formal government registration or filing that anyone has to do to possess copyright. You do not need a contract with a publishing house to possess copyright. Just write and put your name to it. The MOS absolutely KNOWS this.

    • Nic919 says:

      That’s the opposite of the law in the UK. The author of the letter holds the copyright. The Mail isn’t even disputing that but instead they are trying to argue that consent to print was given through the friends mentioning the letter in another publication.

  36. aquarius64 says:

    I think Meghan is going to have to make a tough choice and go after her father. One of the arguments struck was how do you know Toxic Tom’s state of mind when you haven’t talked to him in two years. She’s reluctant to do so; her lawyers redacted her copy of the letter that makes Daddy look bad to protect his reputation. The judge can order to have the letter un-redacted and Toxic Tom’s dirty laundry is out (and I bet it can be independently proven).

  37. The Quill says:

    The whole thing is just so tacky. Airing your dirty laundry for all to see is never a good idea. Nobody wins. Everyone will draw their own conclusion.

  38. Awkward symphony says:

    The judge said “some aspects of what was thrown out can come up in the case later” meaning that this changes NOTHING and its only an error in filing/editing . The mail and fleet street ofcourse will twist this as a loss completely dismissing the fact that the mail isnt contesting to the claim that they breached Meghan’s privacy

    • Susan says:

      It’s not an error in filing. Meghan and her lawyers made a decision not to file for defamation. Nothing was stopping them from doing that at the beginning if they felt they had the evidence for it.

      • Shelley says:

        You do realize that would EXPOSE the royal family?!?!?! They are not going to do that while the queen is still alive!!

  39. Cat Ca says:

    The argument is not whether her privacy was breached (it was).
    The argument is whether the Associated Newspaper can argue if the breach falls under the “exception” rule – that there was public interest (which makes it ok for them to publish the letter).
    I don’t know how Meghan’s lawyers can successfully argue that there was no public interest – there was and is.

    • Vanessa says:

      The letter was not in public interest no one besides the daily mail and the people who hate Meghan care about the relationship between her and her father . The daily mail is the one that creates this whole mess with Meghan and father saga they constantly interviewed him every week for months straight interview after interview Their own audience was even getting annoyed with them . The daily mail had no rights to release that letter they didn’t own it they didn’t have permission for Meghan to release the letter and now they know in the courts of law that will they lose but they are trying to win with the public they know their smearing campaign against Meghan have work on their audience so their playing to their audience with this crap . They are counting on people not reading the documents where the judge said what his ruling is that Meghan and her lawyer can re introduced some of their evidences against the daily mail as long it’s makes sense .

  40. Summer says:

    This has to hurt her and Tom. I can’t even imagine going to war with my father. This is all so sad.

    • Kkat says:

      What’s sad is that her father sold their relationship to tabloids who are running a smear campaign

  41. lili says:

    Hmm, I wonder.. Is it worth it? Being remembered for the lawsuits, some people will think “oh, lost lawsuit, troublemaker”? My question is directer at her lawyers – it seems they got carried away. Couldn’t they make it shorter, more professional? I know Meghan wanted this but isn’t it a lawyer’s job to give the best advice? I heard it’s good to not point too many arguments because it aggreviates the judge. Not fair but human.

    • Alexandra says:

      I don´t think it is worth it. I am sure the lawyers gave good and sound advice, trouble is if the client does t want to follow the advice. I fear it may the the case.

  42. Awkward symphony says:

    I see the trolls are out in force today🙄her lawyers are more than competent and experienced in handling media oligarchs especially during #leverson inquiry traild. Again today’s decision is not a big deal and if anything the judge appeared be sympathetic to the duchess as he adviced her team to refile+left door open so they can re introduce the striked out parts. The haters will be in for a big shock once this trail results in her win. Theres a big hype because unlike other cases the duchess attached a claim which would set the mail to a heavy fine (close to a million) once she wins+damages(£60kmax)+ attaching any earnings from the letter which judging by how much they used her letter and referenced it could also be in millions

  43. Marivic says:

    I am fervently praying that Meghan wins her lawsuit against the abusive British media.

  44. February Pisces says:

    Byline investigates have an interesting story on their website about James Hewitt. Basically It 8 months after Diana’s death and piers Morgan who was editor of the daily mirror at the time. James Hewitt had over 60 letters from Diana written to him, which he kept in his safe. The mirror used Hewitts then girlfriend to steal the letters out of the safe. In order for her to betray his trust, they told her he had been seeing another woman then showed her a picture. The woman in the picture worked for the mirror and the picture was taken by them, basically setting up Hewitt who was innocent. His girlfriend was mad and they then coaxed her into committing this burglary buy offering to pay her £150000. She had someone from the mirror looking after her whilst this going on, basically babying her and making sure she does the job. She got the letters, they never paid her, then I think they tried to print that she was an angry ex who stole them. I can’t remember if they printed them or what happened after that. But basically piers Morgan robbed Diana’s grave and got away with it. It’s interesting how these journalists have a way of manipulating people, getting them to betray someone they care about then tossing them away after. And to think Piers is one of the people willie has on his payroll.

    • Marivic says:

      If this were true, I have never heard of such criminal-like media in the world until I got to learn the inner workings of the British media. Mafiosi all .