Duchess Meghan’s summary judgment request called ‘hapless & hopeless’

Meghan Markle, the US fiancee of Britain's Prince Harry, attends an Anzac Day dawn service at Hyde Park Corner in London on April 25, 2018.  Anzac Day commemorates Australian and New Zealand casualties and veterans of conflicts and marks the anniversary of the landings in the Dardanelles on April 25, 1915 that would signal the start of the Gallipoli Campaign during the First World War.

The Duchess of Sussex/Montecito doesn’t have to step foot in the UK until a year from now, because she successfully requested a delay in the trial which was supposed to begin in January of next year. We still don’t know why Meghan asked for the delay – some say it was simply pandemic related, some say it was because of the now-broader scope of the Mail’s defense, and some theorize that Meghan is pregnant and she didn’t want to travel during her pregnancy. Regardless, in January there will be one thing happening with Meghan’s lawsuit: a movement for summary judgment, where her lawyers will ask the court to make a ruling on the strength of her case without a trial. If the summary judgment fails, no harm, no foul and the trial goes ahead next October/November. Now Newsweek is speaking to some British lawyers about the possibility that the Meghan will lose the summary judgment:

Meghan Markle’s bid to win her U.K. tabloid privacy case without a high profile trial is “hapless and hopeless,” lawyers tell Newsweek. The Duchess of Sussex got an important win at the High Court in London last week when she was granted permission to delay her case against the Mail on Sunday by around nine months for confidential reasons.

Crucially, she was also granted permission to apply in January to be given victory in the high-stakes lawsuit without a trial. If successful, the move would be a major coup and would remove the need for her to face a grilling from the newspaper’s lawyers and for her father to give evidence against her.

U.K. attorney Mark Stephens, who previously represented Julian Assange, told Newsweek if she fails she faces giving evidence under oath about whether she leaked information about her private life to the authors of biography Finding Freedom. The lawyer, of Howard Kennedy, said: “Her application is hopeless and hapless. That’ll fail. She’s put herself in this position where she has to accept every fact that the Mail on Sunday is saying are true. Only if everything they’re saying is true and they still lose can she do it. That smacked to me of an attempt to delay the case because I think she knows she’s in a mess and she’s been forced to, before that hearing, put forward the details of how she cooperated with the book directly or indirectly. She’s going to have to expose all of that and she’s going to have to give disclosure of her private electronic messages.”

Summary judgments are awarded if the court believes one side in a case has an overwhelming prospect of success. However, the Mail on Sunday’s case is built around claims Meghan intended her private letter to be made public and sent it as part of a PR strategy to get her point of view across without being seen to speak out publicly. Meghan disputes these allegations but the newspaper will claim the court cannot rule on whether she is telling the truth without seeing her testify in court.

[From Newsweek]

Let me just say that… I’ve never really heard the Mail’s defense spelled out that way, and holy sh-t is that bonkers. The Mail’s defense is honestly that they had every right to publish Meghan’s letter to her father because… she only sent him the letter knowing that he would sell her out? That takes some mental gymnastics on the Mail’s part. Granted, I think Meghan wrote that letter to her toxic father knowing that he would likely sell her out and reveal the letter at some point. The fact that he kept the letter hidden for so many months probably surprised her, but he only hid it so he could continue to lie about her in dozens of interviews, and claim that Meghan had not been in contact with her whatsoever. When Meghan’s friends went to People and were like “that’s a lie, she wrote him a letter months ago,” THAT is when Thomas Markle sold it (and I believe in my heart that he sold it) to the Mail. The Mail’s defense is honestly that they had every right to publish a letter written BY Meghan because she knew her father was such a terrible person and he would of course sell her out? Bonkers. “This is all Meghan’s fault because she KNEW that her dad is awful, it’s fait accompli!”

wenn35791107

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

43 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s summary judgment request called ‘hapless & hopeless’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Nic919 says:

    Why does Meghan have to prove the allegations in the Mail’s defence? That’s on them to prove. She needs to prove that she didn’t provide explicit consent for the DM to publish the letter. The DM doesn’t have any evidence of that and so the material fact of this case is proven true on a balance of probabilities. No consent given thus breach of copyright. If the article isn’t covering that aspect then that lawyer is missing the core of this case.

    Also, in general courts would rather have SJ motions instead of a full blown trial, especially in this era of covid where it’s hard to run a trial and protect the court workers, lawyers, witnesses and public.

    • Size Does Matter says:

      That’s how summary judgment works in this instance – that even assuming everything alleged in their defense were true, there would still be no genuine issue of material fact and she would win.

    • Nic919 says:

      Meghan doesn’t need to accept anything the DM puts forward. They are making irrelevant arguments that are not relevant to the material facts of the case. The lawyer is suggesting she has to accept what the DM states as true in order to win but she does not. Her position will be that the DM defence has no relevant facts to rebut the fact that she never provided consent for the letter to be published, which is the crux of the copyright case.

  2. Snappyfish says:

    I do believe she will lose summary judgement but mostly because the Mail (& possibly the courts) want the spectacle of a trial. I hope I am wrong as this does no one any good.

    • Jegede says:

      I think she’ll lose it too.

      Justice Warby’s crazy decision, – allowing FF to be included, 😕😕 – has set what should be a straightforward copyright case, into some mess.

      • Sofia says:

        That’s incorrect as Justice Warby was not the judge that ruled on Finding Freedom being allowed

      • Yvette says:

        @Sofia … But Judge Warby denied Meghan’s request to remove it from the case, which he could have granted. He granted her request to delay the trial for confidential reasons, denied her request to remove “Finding Freedom” from the case, and granted her request for a summary judgement hearing in January on the same date of the now moved trial.

      • Sofia says:

        @Yvette I agree but @Jegede was saying (or at least implying) that Justice Warby ruled on including FF in the first place when he didn’t. Wasn’t talking about having it chucked out later.

  3. NiqGee says:

    I still don’t understand the connection the MoS is trying to make by adding Finding Freedom to the case.

    • Myra says:

      At first I thought they were using it to prove a pattern of behaviour of using proxies to release certain information. But after hearing bits and pieces of their last argument which was basically saying that Meghan violated her own privacy in FF , I have to agree I’m really confused. In any case, what does does any of this have to do with copyright violation and invasion of privacy. Meghan can decide on her own what she shares of her private life. MoS has no right to splash out her words on their newspapers for profit without her consent. If anyone should have been paid for the letter, it should have been Meghan. Those were her words, her private thoughts and feelings on her relationship with her father.

    • ola says:

      Self-violation of privacy. As always with M., you can’t have it both ways. If MoS proves (and they will if Scooby needs to testify) that M. gave information to FF, the whole case is down the drain.

      • CC says:

        If self violation even a thing in the UK? Also, don’t see how Meghan would be involved in the book…there’s barely any interesting information there. If Meghan told her friends to say what they want to say, it shouldn’t be a big deal

      • Becks1 says:

        It’s Scobie.

      • Tealie says:

        There is no such thing as ‘self violation of privacy’ it goes against the very definition of privacy which is the right to selectively share what you want.

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      They are throwing anything out there to keep this going for clicks for their stupid corrupt papers.

  4. Becks1 says:

    I haven’t practiced law in court on years, but my understanding of SJ isn’t that she has to admit the MoS’s allegations are true – it’s IF they are true, the law is still on her side. The purpose of a trial is to establish facts in a case, so for SJ you are just saying we don’t need to establish the facts bc even if they’re all true, the law still says X.

    Any UK lawyers have more insight? Like I said it’s been a hot minute and I’m in the US.

    • Nic919 says:

      I can’t speak for the UK, but in Canada SJ motions depend on whether or not there are material facts at issue. If so they will send it to trial, if not they can make a decision based on the law at the motion.

    • Cara says:

      Becks1, you’re right about summary judgment in the US. The argument goes: these are the facts with references to the evidence/record like depositions and documents; next, this is how we believe the law should be applied to those facts; then this is what the defendant is going to argue; and finally even if all of that is true, we still win because XYZ. Summary judgment can also be won on only portions of a case so certain claims can be thrown out. I truly admire the media’s ability to make so much hay out of what is an incredibly standard motion to make. (For the record I was both a journalism major and a lawyer!).

  5. Amy Bee says:

    But this case is not about privacy. It’s about copyright infringement and the law states that permission has to be received from the writer in order to publish a letter. So, the premise of this whole article is off.

    • Yvette says:

      @Amy Bee … Agreed. And I think the MOS only included “Finding Freedom” in their defense to muddy the waters and to solicit more salacious articles for more clicks for more money. Their argument that Meghan ‘must’ have cooperated in writing the book because she didn’t publicly deny anything in the book and that she, gasp, received a copy of the book prior to publication is bonkers.

      I am truly beyond confused and surprised by the fact that Judge Francesca Kaye allowed the MOS to introduce “Finding Freedom” to their defense because it has absolutely nothing to do the case against them. If I recall correctly, Judge Kaye said she allowed it because “if there’s nothing there” the defense will fall apart in the trial (yes, but ‘after’ the MOS have milked every bit of sensationalism from the bloody trial!).

  6. lanne says:

    They must really hate her over there. This feels really, really personal. They really have a “we gotta punish this bitch for speaking up” mentality–no royal lawsuit in the past (and there have been many) have released this much vitriol toward the subject–not the nude photos of Kate, nor Charles’s letters (which showed him overstepping his mandate by interfereing directly in politics). The DM wants to use the legal system to make Meghan SUFFER. It’s a sorry thing to say, but meeting Harry is probably, objectively, the worst thing that ever happened to Meghan. He damn well better be worth it. If he ever leaves her, he will have essentially ruined.her.life.

    I don’t believe in conspiracy theories–Diana was killed because she didn’t wear a seatbelt in a car with a drunk driver. But these people are capable of putting out a hit on Meghan and Archie to get Harry back. The tabloids have already shown that they’re willing to drive people to suicide. The tabloids are Meghan’s crazy stalker ex and the RF is Harry’s crazy stalker ex, both of whom are saying, “If I can’t have you, no one will.” This is straight up abuse and someone needs to call them on it.

    • S808 says:

      Yeah, her life was damn near perfect before they met. I don’t blame him for all of this and I’m sure she doesn’t either, but I’d feel somewhat guilty.

    • cc says:

      I agree with everything you said. At this point I really wished Meghan never met Harry. These people are vile, and I never thought I would say that about the RF.

    • Nyro says:

      And this is why it’s time for him to go no-contact with these people. It will never end. And yes, if they ever breakup, it won’t be over for poor Meghan and Archie. I don’t ever see them parting but if that were to happen, Harry had better be ready to protect her and Archie for the rest of his life regardless.

      Yes, Diana died because she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt. But I totally believe the paparazzi were instructed to chase her by the BRF/British establishment. The point being to scare her enough to get her to stand down and end her one-woman shadow royal court. If she ended up hurt in the accident, good. If she was killed in the accident, even better. I absolutely believe that they set that up and sent out their goons because she was overshadowing them and revealing what horrible people they were and what a monstrous institution they were running. They’re all still shook over the Panorama interview to this day. I believe that was the straw that broke the camel’s back and they decided then that she needed to be dealt with. History is repeating itself. And this is why I am truly afraid for the Sussexes. Megan’s maternal side might be trash, but Harry’s paternal side are legitimately ruthless and downright dangerous.

      • FashionMaven says:

        Meghan’s maternal side is trash? Since when? That’s Doria! I think you meant Meghan’s paternal side. No Doria slander please!

    • Tessa says:

      There are going to be no answered questions of more details of Diana’s death since the bodyguard and only survivor amnesia, I am bothered at how long it took to get her to the hospital–that disturbed medical professionals who were astonished at that.
      It was at least sloppy medical care. And I think seatbelts don’t guarantee survival but Diana always buckled up and I think there was some malfunction there kept them from fitting, she buckled up all those other times. The answers will never be found. But that said. Diana never got such really vile comments that Meghan does constantly called demeaning names and stories made up about her I fear for Harry Meghan and Archie. And the reports of people wanting to see if she were “really” pregnant were truly disturbing to me. Meghan is being harassed by the media no matter what she does or says and the DM does not even limit comments in articles about Harry and Meghan so it allows really ugly comments in,

  7. Sunshine says:

    This is why I always say F Thomas Markle. If she had called, he would have sold her out as well. It was clear that working with the tabloids, he wanted a meet and photos. At one point he said, “she knows what she has to do to end this.”

  8. S808 says:

    “if she fails she faces giving evidence under oath about whether she leaked information about her private life to the authors of biography Finding Freedom.”

    This isn’t about privacy it’s about copyright. She could’ve told WHOEVER she wanted about the letter, MOS still violated the copyright.

  9. Kristin says:

    As an attorney, I actually think she has a solid chance of winning the summary judgment. It’s hardly “hapless” or “hopeless”. A motion for summary judgment essentially argues that there is no genuine issue or dispute of fact or law. The copyright law in the UK is pretty clear and I don’t see how the Mail’s lawyers plan to get around that.

    And my God, her father is AWFUL

    • Nic919 says:

      That’s exactly it. The DM is barking about irrelevant nonsense that is immaterial to the facts relating to the copyright case. I highly suspect any lawyer saying the case is hopeless. It absolutely isn’t and many said early on that an SJ motion should have been done.

  10. Rebecca says:

    The fact Newsweek found two UK lawyers with the same opinion is shocking. Truly.

    It’s almost as if they got the specific quotes they wanted in order to write the specific article they wanted.

    How very tabloid-y of them.

    • Aa says:

      Newsweek basically is a tabloid at this point because of the current ownership. It’s kind of a dangerous thing that had gone where respected news publications are bought and readers still give them credibility because of the history of the publication not realizing the ownership has changed.

  11. Angel says:

    I don’t understand, did she sued them for the letter or for diffamation, libel and slandering ?

  12. Ariel says:

    My dad died when i was 29. And in the almost 20 years since his death i have send many times: i would rather have had him as my dad for 29 years than anyone else for a hundred.

    I can’t stop being horrified by this man. And i don’t think he would even notice she wasn’t around if not for money (either from her or the tabloids) and sympathetic attention.
    It is just gross.

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      Yeah he grosses me out too. You have to be a truly awful human being to take the side of this man against his daughter. I know some people hate Meghan for goodness knows what reason, but it doesn’t matter how one feels about her, decent human beings MUST acknowledge that her father is a truly reprehensible person and wins the award for one of the worse parents ever.

  13. TheOriginalMia says:

    Well, I actually think she will win a summary judgment. Her issue is copyright, which MOS violated by publishing her letter without consent and the parts they published were published in a way to defame her. That’s the case. None of that other stuff is relative to her copyright claim.

  14. Well-Wisher says:

    The people who wrote this item neglect to add that they are stakeholders in this case all be it distant nevertheless. One of the possible outcomes could have establish and explain privacy in terms of the law in the UK. It seem at first daily Fail did not want it to go forward to prevent the potential judgement to set a precedent in terms of privacy and also their ‘socialist’ defense would not have worked after the Sussexes stepped down as senior royals .
    Next there was ‘throw mud at the wall’ approach until the FF book stuck. It meant that their could expend time to endless litigation to ensure the Sussexes waste resources to prove over and over again that their allegations d’jour are wrong.
    Instead, the case is now being litigated on the Data Protection aspect of the law hence the move to ask for a summary judgement. It is simply did the daily fail had permission to print a private letter from its author?
    This latest piece is designed to reassert the British tabloids aura of all consuming power and to put that American divorcee in ‘her place’ while scaring their future victims away from the notion to ever fighting back.

    This is about retaining their aura of invincibility – a legend only in their minds.
    No matter what happens, Meghan wins in the best way possible- “She confronted her’ bully’ in the best way possible and is still left ‘standing tall’.

  15. ABritGuest says:

    I think she has to put forward that the Fail has no prospect of winning at trial on the facts. The Fail has to show otherwise & evidence why it should go to trial. A lot of U.K. lawyers said they had no defence on the copyright action & even said part of the defence relying on her handwriting being neat etc was laughable. Haven’t seen many opinions on the misuse of private data side of her case.

    The privacy part is interesting as Charles sued the Fail on I believe same grounds as Meghan. With his diary he gave out a few copies to friends so you’d think less expectation of privacy in that case plus this is someone who has briefed about relationship with his parents, ex wife & children eg in authorised bios and even confessed to adultery on TV. But he still won so it would really have some interesting implications if Meghan lost the privacy side. we’ll see.

    I think there’s lots of wishful thinking with commentators because they’ve been pitching this as the trial of the century & obviously the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial provided lots of content.

  16. Lb says:

    The fact is- MM is perusing DM. The burden of proof is on her as she is the one who is making the allegation. She doesn’t have the same burden of proof as if she was in a criminal trial but as she is is the one who brought this prosecution, she it the one who needs to prove it’s legitimacy.

  17. Annie says:

    Every time I read about Harry and Meghan I take a deep sigh. I wish people would just let them be happy. What’s the obsession with torturing them and bullying them. Just let them live. They have a child. These attacks are all coming from everywhere. Their own families, the press, the trolls. I hope they can overcome every obstacle and manage to stay together happily. I really do hope this doesn’t tear them apart at one point. I hope Harry stays strong and doesn’t give in.

    • Tessa says:

      I don’t know what these critics want.The trolls jeered at them “living off Charles,” When they announced they got money for their Netflix production deal they were trashed for attention seeking. Now the chorus is they should be “stripped of their titles,” and he should beg forgiveness and take Archie from Meghan and go “home.” It is disgusting.