Actresses Pamela Anderson and Denise Richards have become embroiled in a civil lawsuit filed by two freelance photographers. The lawsuit alleges that Richards assaulted the plaintiffs. Click here to read CourtTV’s coverage of this lawsuit.
While the CourtTV story indicates that the lawsuit alleges assault, the news article also indicates that a “scuffle” was implicated in the suit. Legally speaking, an “assault” is merely the apprehension of an unwanted physical contact. Thus, a claim of assault is distinguishable from a claim of battery (which involves physical contact). The article is not clear on whether the plaintiffs allege both assault and battery, though it appears that they may have.
In addition to the possible claims of assault and battery, you may have noticed that the article also indicates that the defendants allegedly made defamatory statements about the plaintiffs, and that the plaintiffs suffered emotional distress. Defamation could possibly be another cause of action in the lawsuit, in addition to an intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action.
Finally, while there is no indication of criminal charges being filed against any of the involved parties, when physical altercations are alleged, there is always a potential crime to be investigated. Further, the allegation that the defendants made false statements to the police also raises potential issues of perjury, obstruction of justice, and malicious prosecution.
Whatever the actual causes of action may be, what is clear is that the bitter relationship between the paparazzi and celebrities has been thrust back into the limelight.