Tom Cruise is seeking $50 million over claims that he abandoned daughter Suri after marriage split
If you were hoping to watch Tom Cruise's legal battle against "In Touch" and "Life & Style" publishers Bauer Publishing Company play out in public, it looks like you're out of luck.
Cruise and Bauer have been ordered to participate in a private mediation over Cruise's lawsuit against Bauer, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in Central California on Friday. The settlement conference is non-binding.
The order was expected; a motion filed last month indicated that the case would move to private mediation if the suit wasn't settled 45 days prior to the final pretrial conference.
And judging from comments issued by Cruise's attorney Bert Fields since the suit was filed, the "Top Gun" actor doesn't seem to be much in a settling mood on this one.
Cruise filed his $50 million defamation lawsuit against Bauer in October, claiming that Life & Style and In Touch said he had abandoned his daughter, Suri, following his split from wife Katie Holmes.
Fields has adamantly denied the tabloids' reports, calling them "a disgusting, vicious lie." He's also characterized Bauer as "serial defamers."
Bauer has countered that its claims about Cruise are "substantially true."
As reported last month by TheWrap, Cruise's legal team said that it expected to seek discovery relating to Bauer's alleged "history of bigotry and hatred toward minority religious groups and their members" — presumably, in reference to Cruise's membership in the Church of Scientology.
Attorneys for Bauer said that they would likely seek discovery for the "role, if any, that Plaintiff's membership in the Church of Scientology played in his decisions regarding his visitation and communications with Suri Cruise after his separation and divorce."
An April 29, 2014 trial date has been set in the case.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.