Judge sides with Gloria Allred in complaint accusing her of poaching one of John Travolta's accusers from another lawyer, after her accuser pulls a no-show
Gloria Allred scored an expected victory Friday in the increasingly convoluted legal saga over actor John Travolta's alleged misbehavior during massage sessions, as a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought against her by the original attorney for two of Travolta's accusers.
Los Angeles Superior Court judge Michael P. Linfield ruled in favor of Allred's motion to dismiss the other attorney's complaint, after tentatively ruling in Allred's favor on Wednesday.
Though the ruling was expected, it probably didn't hurt that the opposition failed to show up.
Attorney Okorie Okorocha,who claimed that Allred had stolen one of his clients, did not appear during the hearing, which began at approximately 1:40 p.m. Friday.
John West, of Allred's law firm Allred, Maroko & Goldberg, told the judge that he had received a fax from Okorocha indicating that he was willing to agree to Wednesday's tentative ruling.
"Plaintiff Okorie Okorocha has an irreconcilable calendar conflict but does not want to burden the parties or the court and will therefore submit on the tentative ruling," West said, reading the fax aloud in court.
Though Linfied said he hadn't heard from Okorocha, he said, "If he is not here, I'm assuming plaintiff is submitting. Am I correct defendant is submitting?"
Okorocha, who initially represented the Travolta accusers — referred to as John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 in court papers — sued Allred in May, accusing her of illegally poaching John Doe #2 as a client. According to Okorocha, he had to part ways with John Doe #1 due to a potential conflict of interest. The accuser then retained Allred — after which, Okorocha claims, Allred swooped in in and poached John Doe #2.
Allred refuted Okorocha's claims in her motion to strike, saying that his complaint "has no admissible evidence," and that his "purported 'evidence,' contained in his declaration, consists of various combinations of argument, improper opinion, matters lacking in foundation and violations of the attorney-client privilege."
In a prepared statement provided to TheWrap after Friday's ruling, Allred called Okorocha's complaint "legally and factually baseless," adding that Linfied's ruling "validates" her firm's position that it had not interfered with Okorocha's business.
She also noted that the client she allegedly poached "filed a declaration under oath affirming that he contacted my law offices because he was unhappy with the legal services he was receiving from Mr. Okorocha and wanted to substitute our law firm as his new attorneys."
As for Okorocha's no-show, Allred suggested that he backed out after Linfield's tentative ruling in her favor.
"When it appeared that we won Mr. Okorocha for the first time stated that he could not appear and gave his reasons for not appearing a previously undisclosed and unspecified 'calendar conflict,'" Allred said. "However, he did not ask Judge Linfield to continue this matter so that he could argue against the dismissal of the lawsuit.
"It seems strange to us that Mr. Okorocha was very visible in the press when he filed the lawsuit against us, but now that now that we have won, he is suddenly nowhere to be seen in the courthouse today," Allred's statement concluded.
Okorocha has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.
John Does #1 and #2 had accused Travolta of sexual battery during separate massage sessions in January. Their suit was voluntarily dismissed when they parted ways with Okorocha, and Allred says they are weighing their legal options, including the possibility of re-filing.
Allred has also vowed to countersue Okorocha.
Meanwhile, Travolta continues to be embroiled in the ongoing legal saga. The actor and his attorney, Martin Singer, have also been slapped with a lawsuit filed by the author of a book chronicling Travolta's supposed sexual escapades in a Los Angeles spa. The author, Robert Randolph, claims that Travolta made defamatory remarks about him through Singer which damaged his credibility and, subsequently, his potential book sales.
Last week, former Royal Caribbean cruise attendant Fabian Zanzi, who claims that Travolta solicited him for sex and offered him $12,000 in hush money during a 2009 cruise, also filed suit.
Travolta's attorney, Martin Singer, has adamantly denied all accusations against his client.