Khloe Kardashian might want Love Ranch brothel owner Dennis Hof to shut up about the circumstances behind her estranged husband Lamar Odom’s medical emergency at Hof’s Nevada establishment, but if she’s hoping to silence him through legal means, she’s probably out of luck.
With an apparent flap opening up between Kardashian and Hof last week, TheWrap spoke to UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh to discuss her legal options, should she pursue action on that front.
The answer, Volokh said, is that her chances would probably be pretty slim.
“They wouldn’t have much of a case,” Volokh told TheWrap.
One problem, Volokh noted, is that it would ultimately be Odom’s case to take up.
“Whatever rights he has, they’re his rights, not her rights or anybody else’s rights,” Volokh explained. “So if he were in a coma, his wife could sue on his behalf. Once he’s conscious, presumably it would be his decision what to do.”
With Odom reportedly speaking full sentences at this point, the ball would be in the former NBA star’s court.
Still, Volokh noted, there is some potential recourse that she could take. The law allows someone to sue if facts are revealed that are confidential, that a reasonable person would find offensive if they were disclosed and that are not newsworthy.
Courts generally take “a very broad view of what is newsworthy,” Volokh said, “especially when we’re talking about things that involve possible crime,” so the law would likely fall in Hof’s favor.
Even so, Volokh said, “It’s not open and shut. It’s a vague rule, as anything having to do with legitimate public concern or newsworthiness will necessarily be.”
But because the tort has been read quite narrowly so far by the courts, Volokh said, it “would probably be quite difficult to make such a claim.”
Since Odom’s hospitalization after being found unconscious at the Love Ranch last Tuesday, Hof made numerous media appearances. He told the New York Daily News that a publicist for Khloe Kardashian reached out to him and asked him to stop publicly divulging details about the incident.
According to Hof, he had a very blunt reply.
“They asked me not to talk to the media,” Hof said. “I told her to pass on a message: Go to hell.”
Odom was found unconscious in his room at the brothel on Oct. 13, and rushed to a hospital in nearby Pahrump, Nevada, before he was transferred to the Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas.
According to 911 calls placed by brothel employees, Odom had admitted to taking a small amount of cocaine prior to his arrival to the brothel Oct. 10, and had ingested up to 10 herbal sexual performance enhancement pills in the ensuing days.
Though Odom’s medical condition initially seemed dire, reports of the past few days have suggested that the former Los Angeles Laker is on a solid rebound.