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“Lord of the Dance” Star Michael Flatley Obtains $11 Million Judgment

December 14, 2007Article

Michael Flatley, best known for his role in the “Lord of the Dance” and “Riverdance” productions, has obtained an $11 million judgment in a defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress case.  Greenberg Glusker attorneys Bert Fields and Ricardo Cestero represented Flatley in this matter.

“This case proves that it never pays to try to extort money by making up false accusations,” said Flatley.  “Bert and Ricardo were instrumental in helping me clear my name and in sending a message that extorting money from celebrities by making up false stories won’t be tolerated.”

In 2002, real-estate agent Tyna Marie Robertson claimed that Flatley had sexually assaulted her during a trip to Las Vegas.  In hopes of obtaining millions of dollars from Flatley, Robertson retained counsel and threatened to go public with the allegations of sexual assault.  Refusing to pay, Flatley countersued both Robertson and her lawyer, D. Dean Mauro, for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil extortion. In July 2006, the California Supreme Court held that Mauro had committed extortion and he subsequently settled the case by making a substantial payment to Flatley. Greenberg Glusker attorneys then assisted Flatley in obtaining the nearly $11.1 million judgment against Robertson.

“When someone makes false accusations, the victim really does suffer, which is why we have laws against defamation,” said entertainment attorney Ricardo Cestero, who specializes in First Amendment issues.

“This case clearly demonstrates that extortion schemes against celebrities don’t pay and that no one—including lawyers—is above the law.”
 
Flatley has stated that he will donate any recovery on the judgment to charity.