Duchess Meghan’s two-day summary judgment hearing started today in London

The Duchess Of Sussex Visits The Hubb Community Kitchen

I was debating whether or not to even try to summarize what’s happening with the Duchess of Sussex’s lawsuit against the Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday. I debated with myself because I thought there was a chance we would get a ruling today, but it looks like it’s going to be a two-day hearing. The hearing is for Meghan’s request for a summary judgment, meaning the judge on the case – Justice Warby – has to make a decision about whether or not the Mail has sufficiently proven they have a good defense for printing Meghan’s handwritten letter to her father. The Mail and their legal team have spent the past year throwing sh-t against the wall to see what sticks, and it’s been death by a thousand paper cuts for Team Meghan. Here’s what happening with the two-day summary judgment hearing, which has started today:

Lawyers for Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, asked a British judge on Tuesday to settle her lawsuit against a newspaper before it goes to trial by ruling that its publication of a “deeply personal” letter to her estranged father was “a plain and a serious breach of her rights of privacy.”

The duchess, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that published portions of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Britain’s Prince Harry in 2018. Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim, and the full trial is due to be held in the fall at the High Court in London.

The duchess is seeking a summary judgment that would find in her favor and dismiss the newspaper’s defense case. Her lawyer Justin Rushbrooke argued that the publisher had “no real prospect” of winning the case.

“At its heart it’s a very straightforward case about the unlawful publication of a private letter,” he said Tuesday at the start of a two-day hearing, held remotely because of coronavirus restrictions. Rushbrooke said Meghan had every expectation that “a heartfelt plea from an anguished daughter to her father” would remain private.

Lawyers for the publisher argue that Meghan made personal information public by cooperating with the authors of a behind-the-scenes book about her and Harry, “Finding Freedom.” She denies collaborating with the authors — though she acknowledges allowing someone close to her to speak to them — and the book is expected to feature prominently in the trial.

[From THR]

I agree that this is a pretty open-and-shut case, but clearly, my years at Dick Wolf University did not prepare me for the Mail’s ability to play a giant game of Whataboutism. What about Meghan’s friends going to People? What about Finding Freedom? What about this, what about that. No, the case was always pretty simple and the Mail just decided to launch such a huge fight about it as a way of continuing to harass and bully Meghan. But I have hope that Justice Warby might do something here, especially since it’s becoming clear that the Windsors want this lawsuit to go away before any of THEIR sh-t gets revealed.


Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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48 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s two-day summary judgment hearing started today in London”

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  1. Snuffles says:

    Yes, it should be open and shut. But if it does go to trial, the biggest losers will be the royal family and their courtiers who are gonna get EXPOSED.

    • Amy Bee says:

      If the case goes to trial and Meghan loses, just having the royals and courtiers exposed would seem like a victory to me.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      The tabloids don’t care. They just want a dirty and prolonged campaign against Meghan for having the audacity to know her worth. Win, lose or draw, the filthy tabloids will still try and massacre her, so I’m glad she found the courage to stand up for herself.

    • Em says:

      Okay so I do not want her to be put through anything traumatizing – I have been through the wringer in court (divorce court) myself and though it panned out beautifully for me, I do understand it can be awful.

      That said – she’s tough. Do we not sort of want to see the RF get absolutely dragged in this? Could that not be the biggest win of all for them? No matter the outcome, (and I agree a summary judgement is sufficient here), but wouldn’t the biggest take away from this to be Wills being outed for his abuse? Imagine how he would have to rehabilitate his image. Imagine the good will he would lose. I think that maybe it would be very beneficial for Megan and Harry long turn to have the truth come out. They would never have to put out another unauthorized biography – it would be gold.

  2. Sofia says:

    I’m not going to keep my hopes up but it would be best for both the palace and Meghan for this to be sorted tomorrow. The palace gets to avoid them being mentioned in a publicised trial and Meghan gets to move on. The Fail lose out however and they know that so maybe the palace wouldn’t be so keen to intervene in case the media turns their wrath on them.

    • L84Tea says:

      And truthfully, this might be the best time to move on for all of them, now that they’ve announced the review is dead in the water. Let the poor, poor RF gather some dignity and slink away quietly like the snakes they are. Everyone wins if this ends tomorrow. Well, except the BM–ha ha.

    • Becks1 says:

      It would definitely be best for the palace if this case ended at summary judgment – they dont want any testimony that will implicate the courtiers (or the actual family members.) And Meghan obviously wants this to end.

      The MoS wants to drag this out because it gives them endless Meghan stories to run, but I am hoping the judge realizes that.

      It is important to remember generally though that if the judge does rule against Meghan here, it doesnt mean she’s lost the case, it just means it will get a bit uglier, and that’s where it will get really ugly for the palace – so we’ll see what happens. I would not be surprised if there was some pressure being applied, which is obviously a different problem.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      The problem is that the tabloids are out for blood and so are the palaces. The tabloid income has been hit and the RF popularity is on a rapid decline. No one likes the current occupants as they are lazy, dysfunctional and worse still they do not really sell in today’s market. Meghan and Harry getting away was unprecedented and them doing well against all odds even more so. The tabloids and RF will parade as many disgusting family members as possible before our eyes for exclusives and stories to exact revenge. They do not want Meghan to move on.

      • L84Tea says:

        Even if it means courtiers possibly being dragged into court to testify and receipts being dropped on KP? I would think BP would want to do anything to cover that potential hot mess up quick.

      • Becks1 says:

        @L84Tea – exactly, and that’s where the tabloids interest and the royals interest diverges. as long as this lawsuit was something being dragged out as a way to hammer Meghan, the royals were fine with it. but if this goes to court it could get very ugly for some courtiers/royals and that will actually be to the tabloids benefit – finding out that someone close to William was leaking info to the press with William’s full blessing would be a big story, and we all know the british tabs need some big royal stories to keep them going. William shut them about Rose Hanbury, but he cant shut down every negative story and if something comes out of this lawsuit, it could get ugly.

  3. Stacy Dresden says:

    Go, Meg!!

  4. S808 says:

    Hoping she wins so she can end this nightmare chapter in her life and move on.

  5. Julia K says:

    Perhaps Prince Charles will man up and use his influence to bring this to resolution. Win win for all. Daily Mail can apologize and everyone goes home.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Well, I sincerely hope he stays out of it, unless for some reason he is needed as a witness. Justice and courts of law should be free of influence peddling.

      With that said, obviously my sympathies are with Meghan in this ridiculous case, and I hope it is quickly resolved in her favor.

    • Amy Bee says:

      When has Charles ever “manned up”? He wants to stay on the good side of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday who has been campaigning against the Crown on his behalf. He will remain silent because it benefits him to do so.

    • My Two Cents says:

      haha, the DM will NEVER apologize, but I, too would love to hear them grovel!

    • Yvette says:

      @Julia K. … I don’t know about Prince Charles manning up, but he is helping in a way as he won a Summary Judgement case agains Associated News in 2006 after suing the Mail On Sunday for publishing parts of his personal journal on the British handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997. Associated News appealed the Summary Judgement, and Prince Charles won that as well.

      British Law is different than American Law, but I’m hopeful for Meghan because of Prince Charles’s legal victory. I hope Meghan’s attorney’s are able to cite that case as precedent for her case against Associated News.

    • Myra says:

      I don’t think that Charles has that kind of influence. It would be so inappropriate. However, I am interesting to see how the outcome of this case compares to his.

      In Meghan’s case, the content was clearly one of a family matter. For Charles, he was commenting on public issues. Meghan gave the letter only to her father, Charles gave it to several friends. In Meghan’s case it was a personal letter, one could argue (that like an email) you have the expectation of privacy via such a medium. In Charles case, it was a journal, it’s medium could be argued that it was intended for publication (like a memoir or a collection of thoughts).

      Charles won his case at a time where privacy/personal data laws were probably not as stringent. In Meghan’s case, I’m not sure how press freedom laws have evolved.

      • Yvette says:

        @Myra … It doesn’t matter if Charles was commenting on public issues. The importance is that he wrote down his personal thoughts in his personal, private journal with the expectation that no one would read them except with his expressed permission. Excerpts were published by the Mail on Sunday without his permission.

        The only reason I bring his case up is because of the similarity to Meghan’s case. Prince Charles sued Associated News for breeching his copyright and won the case in a Summary Judgement. Associated News appealed, Charles won the appeal.

      • Myra says:

        I understand that and I agree with the outcome of his judgement. I just find that there is an even more compelling case for Meghan, compared to Charles. That he also won his case on appeal, means that Associated Newspaper were well aware of their limitations and they still did not seek out the permission of Meghan prior to publishing.

  6. Shoo fly says:

    The newspapers have worked overtime to frame this as an invasion of privacy case and only an invasion of privacy case, which is the far weaker claim. I am not an expert on British law but I do not think you can breach copyright because the person holding the copyright said mean things about you, especially when you then twist the meaning of the copyrighted letter. We’ll see.

    • Mignionette says:

      I think they’ve focused on the privacy angle bc it suits their narrative and allow’s them to sell copy to the gammons.

      On social media the gammons will frequently spout “I thought they wanted privacy but they’re constantly doing interviews, etc etc”

      It also seems to follow the Cambridge agenda i.e. that H&M should just disappear from public life so that they can ‘reclaim’ the spotlight.

      This was a game only ever being played by the BM. The Camb’s just stupidly thought they would have control over this steam-train…. wrong again….

  7. Amy Too says:

    I really don’t understand how it matters even IF she did talk to the authors of finding freedom since finding freedom came out AFTER the letter was published. She could argue that since the Mail published her private letter and made her life hell, she was forced to try to clear up what she’s actually all about and what the true facts of her life and relationships are. People are allowed to change their PR strategy when they need to because of an outside circumstance. It doesn’t mean they want to or would have done that if the tabloid hadn’t screwed them over. It seems like an obvious cause and effect sort of thing. This would be like having a tabloid publish your private nude pictures and then when you put out a statement about it being like “Ha! See? She’s talked about them to the press, that means she always intended to talk about them and have them come out! We just did it for her!” And even then, how is that a good defense? Are people not allowed to decide when they share things about themselves or make certain things public?

    And that’s all still only if she admitted that she helped with FF, which she does not. Any of the “help” she gave the authors or any talking she did with them, was stuff like conversations or interviews in her official capacity of DofS about things that the authors then were able to use when they wrote the book. They were not specific interviews conducted for the purpose of gathering info for the book. Omid (at an engagement): “Tell me about this charity initiative and why it’s important to you.” Meghan: “This is why: [xxxxxxxxxx, personal anecdote about her past and how it shaped her and led to an interest in this issue],” is not the same as: Omid: “Tell me personal stuff specifically for me to include in my book about you.” Meghan: “Okay! [personal anecdote and lots of intimate thoughts and feelings.]” If I were writing a book about someone, I would also use information that I had gleaned from my multi-year long working relationship with that person. It’s not like when you decide to write a book, you have to suddenly pretend you know nothing about the subject and “start clean” with all new research and interviews. Generally, the reason you decide that you’re a good person to write this particular book is because you already have a lot of knowledge and content.

  8. Harper says:

    Despite the circus the Daily Mail creates, her legal team should prevail in getting the case wrapped up now. I’m not hopeful, however, that the headlines will spin it as a win for her. They’ll probably say that Meghan found a way to publicize her pain and look like a loving daughter but then worked the legal system so that she still appeared to be a victim of the media. Sarah Vine is probably writing this story right now so it’ll be ready to go when the judge rules..

    • Mignionette says:

      Meghan always knew she would never win in the Court of the Gammon Media. Rather this is about setting the official record straight and from hereon they will tread more carefully and cannot print lies in relation to the case as that aggravates the action and makes their action ‘willful’ and ‘malicious’ as opposed to ‘negligent’ or ‘un-intentional’.

      This is about putting the Heil on notice and setting a line in the sad. The Heil may then choose to slither over than line from time to time, but that then makes their actions aggravated and they will have to do a cost benefit analysis on Meghan’s profitability as their chosen object of slander.

      Notice that every few years the Heil’s top panel of hate rotates once a target is no longer profitable or interesting to Karen and Kevin Gammon or after they have repeatedly had their arses handed to them.

      That has the effect of effectively systematically and slowly neutering them.

  9. Hannah says:

    I’m confident that this will be the ONE time the RF do something… But… only because ‘if’ it goes to trial, some pretty awful things about the RF are going to come out. So I do think the men in grey are doing what they do

    • kelleybelle says:

      One of the worst aspects of this Fail case is that they peddled the letter as being “the whole thing” when they KNEW it was not at all. They lied continually about that. It was deliberately doctored to maintain their “ungrateful brat” narrative. Shouldn’t they be guilty of perjury too?

  10. Maliksmama says:

    I believe the summary judgment should be denied. The BRF did too much low down and dirty tricks against Meghan that they need to be exposed. Tom Sr and Samantha need exposing too.

    Someone in the BRF gave the greenlight on “Operation Get Rid of Meghan”. This person and the person who came up with the plan need to be exposed. And in order to do, Meghan’s team will need to do a deep dive into Tom Sr’s and Samantha’s finances and emails, texts, and phone calls.

    The trial is only way to have this info put on the record. Folk won’t be able to deny what’s in black and white and in their faces.

    • one of the Marys says:

      I think H & M already know who was responsible for the ‘get rid of Meghan’ operation and they are so done with that family and all their nonsense. They want to move on, they *have* moved on and asking for summary judgement is a way to wrap it all up and give them some legal protection. It reminds me of their announcement last winter wherein they cut off the four media groups. That has saved them loads of aggravation. There’s no need to answer or respond or acknowledge anything coming from those papers. This lawsuit could also shut down lots of nonsense.

    • Lady D says:

      Completely agree with your assessment. Expose the snakes.

  11. Harla says:

    I would be interested to see, if this goes to trial, which of the 3 palaces had the most active hand in pointing the press towards the Markles in order to try and stop the wedding. I am leaning towards it being KP but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that CH and BP had their hands in it as well. I bet that Harry knows.

  12. Noodle says:

    “My years at Dick Wolf University…” LOL

  13. mynameispearl says:

    Joshua Rozenburg was live tweeting the proceedings today if anyone is interested. Chris Ship did a little also.

  14. Nic919 says:

    So the Mail is saying Jason Knauf helped write the letter. They can’t really prove that but if this does go to trial then KP is going to look awful. It’s clear Meghan was asking for advice from the KP press Secretary on how to deal with her father, but it doesn’t negate her authorship.

    In any case I think the judge will reserve and provide a decision at a later date. The judge will want to make the decision as appeal proof as possible regardless of the decision.

    • Kalana says:

      Does that also give Jason copyright and create an issue if it outs Jason as having leaked the letter? I’ve read a theory that the Palace leaked the letter and then the DM got Thomas to comment on it so they could write an article about it.

      • Shoo fly says:

        It shouldn’t. Plenty of ghostwritten books still have the copyright vested in the “author” particularly secretly ghostwritten books. Knauf would have to assert his copyright claim and that he gave the Mail permission….

      • Nic919 says:

        Even ignoring how the letter is in her name not Jason’s he would have had to provide explicit consent and they haven’t been able to do that because he never actually wrote the letter and the Mail knows this. At most he was consulted which is not even close to being an author.

      • Becks1 says:

        I remember there were rumors (or was it confirmed?) about this a few months ago – or that it came out in court that Jason helped draft the letter (or at least had full knowledge of it) and the defense from the MoS is going to be that Jason also holds the copyright, not just Meghan, so…….that’s where the argument falls flat IMO. So Jason holds the copyright as well so he could leak the letter to the MoS? That’s a bad look for KP. Or Jason holds the copyright so he also has a claim to bring but isnt because….hes better than Meghan? Again, bad look.

        Also if they’re claiming that Jason holds the copyright because he consulted with or had knowledge of the letter or whatever – that sets a really bad precedent for all royal correspondence in the future.

        if Meghan doesnt get summary judgment, I think there will be a lot of pressure applied on the Mail to settle.

  15. Over it says:

    It’s her letter, her private property . Therefore the papers had no legal rights to publish it without her permission. It doesn’t matter who she did or didn’t give information to about her life in anyway shape or form. The letter is still hers and legally the mail is completely in the wrong. Doesn’t the human rights law say something about this? I am sure I read human rights law saying that somewhere

  16. tee says:

    ive finally gotten a handle one of the mail’s main defenses, and it crazily rests entirely on evidence given to them by a royal household. if it indeed goes trial, the head of will and kate’s foundation will *have* to testify against meghan. no way the rf wants that. the ff defense is just bad.

    • Nic919 says:

      Jason Knauf will not want to be a witness because it will expose way more than the family wants to. And it won’t be a good look for the Cambridges that someone who deals with the DM directly still works for them.

      • ABritGuest says:

        Well on the day the Fail has its editor’s witness statement claim that he met a senior member of the royal household three months ago who told them info pertaining to their defence, and that they want Christian Jones, Jason Knauf, Sara Latham& Samantha Cohen to provide evidence, it’s announced that Christian Jones is leaving for a new corporate job ☕️

    • Myra says:

      I saw it as well and it looks like it relies on hearsay information. Now, I also graduated from the Dick Wolf University but this doesn’t pass my smell test. Basically the witness didn’t actually witness any household member writing the stuff, but they were told that it happened?How does that stand in court?

  17. LeslieinN19 says:

    There’s an article today in the guardian about this. Thomas Markle is such an attention seeking odious little man.

  18. Vera says:

    off topic, but I didnt want to dig to find the last article about Eugenie and Frogmore – according to Hello they still live at Frogmore?
    so which is it? did they move out back to her parents or are the still at Frogmore?

  19. OK says:

    A saying it is always good to remember………’Avoid going to court at all costs, if you do end up in court what you will get is the Law, not Justice’.

  20. Kalana says:

    So the Palace was secretly briefing against Meghan while ordering her to not respond to stories in the press. Unless this courtier went rogue, they were doing this on behalf of a senior royal. Gold standard advisors and regal royals. Yeah, it’s too bad Harry and Meghan didn’t take their advice.

    After the Sussexes left, they started the lawsuits which the other royals had tried to prevent.

    It’s Christian Jones. The Torygraph is currently trolling him and his partner. They will be thrown under the bus.

    Julian Payne just left as well and I wonder how connected he is to all this.

    This is awful. They made it impossible for Meghan to be part of that family. William set up a dynamic where either the family protected him or Meghan.