Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas won a round in court when a judge refused to dismiss a defamation lawsuit accusing his ex- fiance of being behind Internet postings accusing him of infecting her with sexually transmitted diseases.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Fahey also granted a motion by Arenas’ attorneys allowing them to start the process to seek a default judgment against Laura Govan.
Arenas, 34, sued Govan last October, alleging that after he ended their relationship, she caused several websites to post false information claiming he infected her with sexually transmitted diseases in retaliation for his announced intention to take back the car she was driving and the home where she was living.
The Arenas suit states that Govan sent him an email last Sept. 22 that stated, “When I left you it was because I couldn’t take the STDs.”
Fahey issued his final ruling May 27, 11 days after hearing arguments in the case. At that hearing, he told Govan that she caused uncertainty regarding whether attorney Michael Heicklen, who appeared on her behalf that day, was representing her on all matters concerning the Arenas lawsuit or only some of them.
“Ms. Govan just doesn’t get it,” Fahey said. “This is a real serious case. There seems to be a shell game with the lawyers, She better wake up.”
Fahey’s frustrations were further reflected in his ruling, in which he found that Govan’s dismissal motion was filed too late.
“Belatedly, she asks this court to consider the motion because she had trouble affording an attorney,” Fahey wrote. “In fact, the record shows that (Govan) had at least two attorneys working for her in this action after she was served.”
Fahey also found that even if Govan did not have a lawyer, there was no justification for waiting so long to file her dismissal motion, and he disagreed that the Internet postings were protected speech.
“She can provide no case authority or public policy argument which supports her claim that accusing someone of infecting another with STDs is a statement in connection with a public issue or in the public interest,” Fahey wrote.
Govan, 36, had a role in the 2011 VH1 reality show “Basketball Wives LA.” She is the younger sister of actress and television personality Gloria Govan, who was herself in the middle of a romantic triangle between her estranged husband, former Laker Matt Barnes and his onetime Los Angeles teammate, Derek Fisher.
Govan and Arenas have four children and her claims for financial support for them have been litigated in a separate action in family law court.
In March 2015, Govan sued Arenas, alleging he broke a promise to support her financially. They met in 2003 when Arenas was a member of the Golden State Warriors.
Arenas was suspended for most of the 2009-10 season while on the Washington Wizards roster for storing four unloaded guns in the Verizon Center locker room.
— Wire reports
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