A judge Wednesday scheduled a fall retrial date in a lawsuit that Britney Spears’ self-described former manager filed against the pop star and her father, alleging the singer owed him back wages and that her dad assaulted him.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barbara Meiers set the retrial for Oct. 10, more than 7 1/2 years after Osama “Sam” Lutfi originally filed the case in February 2009.
Meiers also said she will consider ordering a larger number or prospective jurors to deal with defense concerns that publicity involving the case might make it harder to find an impartial panel.
Last March, a three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed some of the rulings handed down in mid-trial by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Suzanne Brugera in November 2012, when she tossed all of Lutfi’s case against the singer and her parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears.
The justices ruled that Lutfi can have a retrial on his breach-of- contract allegation against Spears and battery claim against her father. All other allegations against Jamie Spears, and a defamation claim against Lynne Spears, remain dismissed.
The 34-year-old singer was not present during the trial to fight Lutfi’s breach-of-contract claim because she was declared mentally incompetent to testify by the judge supervising her conservatorship and estate, both of which were established after the entertainer’s 2008 meltdown. She remains under the conservatorship to this day.
Lutfi’s new attorney, Marc Gans, declined to say Wednesday whether he will seek to take the singer’s deposition.
Lutfi is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars based on his claim that in 2007, Britney Spears verbally promised him 15 percent of her earnings during a specified time period. He testified she told him she made $800,000 a month even when she was not working.
But attorney Joel Boxer, on behalf of the Britney Spears estate, said the terms of the contract as alleged by Lutfi were uncertain and not supported by documentation.
In his new court papers, Boxer states he wants to depose “several third- party witnesses who will help prove there was no such contractual agreement” between Britney Spears and Lutfi.
Lutfi maintained that Jamie Spears committed battery by punching him in the stomach during a confrontation at his daughter’s home in January 2008. Jamie Spears’ attorney, Michael Aiken, said previously that Lutfi admitted he had only a “momentary incident of discomfort” and did not have any bruises or swelling.
Lutfi’s lawsuit also alleged he was defamed in portions of Lynne Spears’ book, “Through the Storm, A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World.” He maintained the book had false passages stating that he admitted throwing away the singer’s phone chargers and disabling her house phones in an attempt to isolate her from her family; that he ground up drugs and put them in her food; and that he disabled her cars.
But Lynne Spears testified the passages were true. Her lawyer, Stephen Rohde, said Lutfi acknowledged he was a “public figure” who had to prove malice, meaning that Lynne Spears either knew the information she wrote was false or did not care whether it was true or not. Lutfi never met that burden, Rohde said.
Lutfi also never challenged the singer’s mother when she wrote many of the same allegations in a sworn declaration in support of a restraining order against him on behalf of her daughter during her 2008 breakdown, Rohde said.
The Court of Appeal concluded Brugera ruled properly by dismissing Lutfi’s claims against Lynne Spears.
— Wire reports
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