First Lady Melania Trump has filed a new complaint against the Daily Mail, this time without the allegation that the Daily Mail’s alleged defamation deprived her of a “unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity … to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which [she] is one of the most photographed women in the world.” (BBC, The Independent)
That allegation was an attempt to lay the groundwork for a theory of damages to take to the jury – one that would set up a multi-million-dollar ask in closing argument. But it is the perfect example of something that makes lawyer sense without making any practical sense.
What made headlines was indignation that Ms. Trump would try to profit from being First Lady. But it struck me more as an unsupportable damages theory: It just isn’t believable that a false and mean-spirited but fleeting accusation that Ms. Trump was a prostitute could be the straw that broke the camel’s back and caused the collapse of an incipient licensing empire.
It will be very interesting to watch this lawsuit unfold.