Journalist Bryce Covert is out with a new piece focusing on how survivors of sexual assault are now the targets of defamation lawsuits when they speak out against perpetrators. The article – “Years After #MeToo, Defamation Cases Increasingly Target Victims Who Can’t Afford to Speak Out” — highlights the financial and emotional cost survivors are paying for the brave choice to go public with the allegations they have sometimes kept secret for years. As the article explains, there is a network of attorneys and resources to help survivors.
LVBH was one of the early firms to step forward to represent Pamela Lopez, a lobbyist who made public that she had filed a report with the California Legislature that she had been sexually assaulted by a powerful California Assemblymember. The politician, Matthew Dababneh, stepped down almost immeidately after a Los Angeles Times article revealed multiple women who reported he had harassed or assaulted them. LVBH fought a two-year legal battle on behalf of Lopez and ultimately succeded in getting Dababneh’s case thrown out of court based on First Amendment principles protecting the right of citizens to report to the press after they have filed complaints.
As the article in the Intercept notes, Times Up Legal Defense Fund, founded in the wake of the #MeToo movement, serves as a curcial resource for #MeToo silencebreakers, providing crucial funding for legal fees and costs.