09 May JURY REFUSES TO AWARD BLAC CHYNA DAMAGES IN KARDASHIAN-JENNER DEFAMATION CLAIM
A Californian jury last week returned its verdict in the defamation proceedings brought by Blac Chyna – declining to award her any damages.
As zoom-in previously reported, Chyna commenced defamation proceedings in 2017 against four members of the Kardashian-Jenner clan: Kim, Khloe, Kris and Kylie. Chyna sought $100 million in damages in connection with allegations that she was violent towards Rob Kardashian, her former fiancée, during an incident in 2016. Chyna claimed that these comments led to her reality TV show – Rob & Chyna – being cancelled after only one season.
The 2016 incident was at the heart of the trial. Chyna’s lawyer argued that Rob ‘didn’t have a mark on him’ and the four women had no reason to believe the attack had occurred. By contrast, the Kardashian’s lawyer argued that the women believed the attack occurred as Kris Jenner’s boyfriend, Corey Gamble, broke up the altercation.
Witnesses during the star-studded trial included Chyna and Rob, the four Kardashian-Jenner defendants, Corey Gamble and E! network executives. The E! network executives reportedly testified that the reality show was cancelled because of the relationship breakdown between Rob and Chyna, not because of the allegations by the Kardashian-Jenner family.
After Chyna gave evidence, the Kardashian-Jenner family filed a request that the judge dismiss Chyna’s claims, arguing that Chyna’s claims were ‘absurd’ before the trial began, and that ‘no additional testimony or evidence’ had emerged during Chyna’s testimony. The request sought that the ‘unsupported and wildly speculative claims for damages’ not be permitted to go to the jury. It also argued that Chyna had not provided evidence of the emotional distress she claims to have suffered, other than one payment to a therapist in 2021.
The judge dismissed the defamation claim against Kim but allowed the claim against her for interference with contract to proceed. The judge also permitted the claims against the other three Kardashian-Jenner defendants to go to the jury.
After deliberating for twelve hours, the jury found that the Kardashians had acted in bad faith and were not justified in telling the executives of Rob & Chyna that Chyna had abused Rob. However, it held that this had no substantial effect on Chyna’s contract. As a result, it did not award any damages.
Chyna’s attorney, Lynne Ciani, indicated that Chyna would appeal the finding. Her mother, Tokyo Toni, has launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the appeal. Commenting on the verdict on the red carpet at the Met Gala, Kris Jenner told reporters that she was happy the case was over and the family would be celebrating.