accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

“Real Housewife” Phaedra Parks files $30 million libel lawsuit

phaedra-parks-real-housewives-of-atlanta-225x300“Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member Phaedra Parks has filed a $30 million lawsuit against Vibe Holdings, which operates Vibe.com, Uptown Magazine, and Augustus Publishing, saying the outlet has published lies about her to generate interest in a book.

The lawsuit, filed this week, demands a jury trial, $5 million in compensatory and $25 million in punitive damages, and retractions.

“While Plaintiff recognizes the importance of the role of the media in reporting on public figures, Defendant and other members of the media are not granted an unfettered right or privilege under the First Amendment to defame public figures by publishing false and defamatory accusations with actual malice,” the lawsuit states. “As a result of its conduct, Defendant crossed the threshold from speech protected by the First Amendment to enter the arena of actionable defamation of a public figure for which they must be held legally accountable.”

The lawsuit lists articles filed about Parks, beginning with a a March 14 one titled “Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Star Phaedra Parks Exposed.” The articles, the lawsuit says, “falsely accuse Plaintiff of being a crooked attorney who knows how to commit crimes, has committed crimes, and knows how to cover up her criminal activity.”

The article is posted on Vibe.com.

The article was followed by others, and then an ebook produced by Augustus Publishing titled, “Lies Of A Real Housewife,” by Angela Stanton. It’s online now and available for download. The description on the Augustus Publishing site reads as follows:

“Brazen, incisive, and outrageous, ‘Lies Of A Real Housewife,’ spans the years of early childhood through adulthood. It’s an illustration of guts, and the determination it takes to overcome tragedies in one’s life. Her story begins at the tender age of five years old when Angela Stanton was raped. She takes us into her survival mode on the streets, and adjustments she had to make in her home life. The author shares experiences of her teen years, growing up in Buffalo, NY. She leads us on a short stay as a young girl in Greensboro, NC. The author, rapper, wife and mother, guides us through her struggles into her early adult years in Hotlanta. By fate, she lives a hustler’s life of crime with none other than ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’s’ own, Phaedra Parks. By a twist of fate, her life crashes sending her on a trip to a darkened place called hell. Urban Author, Angela Stanton, survives to give a raw, revolutionary account of her daring journey to redemption. In her sophomore book, Lies Of A Real Housewife, Angela Stanton opens her past life for public viewing.”

The lawsuit says, “In its entirety, the book falsely portrays the relationship between Plaintiff and Stanton as that of friends and accomplices in criminal activity,” and “conveys a picture of Plaintiff as a crooked attorney engaged in a multitude of criminal acts, who conspires with Stanton to commit these acts, and who then uses Stanton in an effort to escape criminal liability for those acts.”

The lawsuit quotes excerpts from the e-book and articles claiming Parks was involved in various criminal enterprises including forgery and a complicated “federal racketeering scheme” aimed at stealing luxury cars.

“Like a true mafia outfit, we were operating above the law, and I was in an elite network of workers for Phaedra Parks,” reads an excerpt quoted in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that Parks met Stanton years ago through a past client, but that they have never been friends or close associates. It also notes that Parks is an attorney active in numerous philanthropic endeavors who ”has never been arrested for a crime or charged with any crime” and “has never been questioned by any law enforcement agency or organization about possible involvement in any crime.”

We’ve left messages with both sides seeking comment.

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

96 comments Add your comment

Justin

May 25th, 2012
3:02 pm

Sue the pants of them Phaedra!

Kat

May 25th, 2012
3:06 pm

Phaedra Parks is the only “housewife” who seems like a decent, hard-working, mature person.

I Fly Rice

May 25th, 2012
3:12 pm

30 mill … are you serious!

Only in America….

Bloodbike

May 25th, 2012
3:14 pm

Being an intelligent, gifted, legal minded African american woman, I think that Ms. Parks probably so this type of thing coming her way once she signed on to do a show liek “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”. Not getting into if its true because I believe it smore than likly lies, but you have to be ready and prepared to be lied about once you go “superstar” using the media world they way she has. Good luck to you and the million doallr law suit.

Alan

May 25th, 2012
3:14 pm

Typical T H U G!

Bloodbike

May 25th, 2012
3:15 pm

I need to slow the heck down when I type. LMBO!

Madea

May 25th, 2012
3:16 pm

Hardworking. Perhaps. Decent? … She did bring ‘Ridickulous’ to that party,didn’t she?

Shaniqua

May 25th, 2012
3:23 pm

Phaedra must need money. It’s funny people will think how to sue someone when they are in need of money.

Sluggo

May 25th, 2012
3:29 pm

I confess, I shamefully watch the ‘RHOA’. It’s kinda neat to recognize local filming locations utilized in the series. However, the antics of the women are far less appealing. I will say that Phadrea is more palatable than certain other members of the series.

th

May 25th, 2012
3:32 pm

mike

May 25th, 2012
3:33 pm

Get your money Phaedra. You haters need to get a life if you can.

eazy duz it

May 25th, 2012
3:42 pm

She didnt have a $30 M life before, would never have regardless. I think she has put too much balue in what others think, no one cares regardless. Give her a 4100 and a trip to Disneyy world…then have a coke and smile and STFU!

Dame!

May 25th, 2012
3:46 pm

Ha! Why does she keep referring to herself as “a public figure”? She really needs to calm down with her contrived relevance to the rest of the world.

Tamia

May 25th, 2012
3:47 pm

She knows she will be the next cut on the show! Smart move to planning ahead. Go seek some cases Ms. Parks. Work and continue to take care of your husband!

teresa

May 25th, 2012
3:47 pm

GaPeachy

May 25th, 2012
3:48 pm

Get em Phadra, don’t think u r getting that kind of money from Vibe, b/c they are struggling to stay afloat but u should get something. They def tried to get some attention for that stupid e book by writing some pretty unwarranted comments about her in the magazine. True or not, with no facts to back it up, no sources, nothing, she is in the right, and she does know the law regardless of how she is depicted in the show.

Meow

May 25th, 2012
3:48 pm

@ Bloodbike – yes, that was a mess! Even more so since you started by introducing your intelligence. Have a great weekend!

Bernie Matt

May 25th, 2012
3:51 pm

I remember the white woman who sued Mickey D’s for spilling her own hot coffee in her lap got $1million.

uga

May 25th, 2012
3:59 pm

@Dame! – Defamation law is different when someone is deemed a “public figure,” which she no doubt is as a legal matter. It actually makes a defamation claim harder. The lawsuit just acknowledges that fact to potentially get that issue out of the way. Its just a legal technicality.

@Bernie Matt – the white woman who sued McDonalds did not get anything close to $1 million. Settlement was confidential but rumor is it was a lot lower.

TruthinSuwanee

May 25th, 2012
4:02 pm

The woman in the Mickey D’s/coffee lawsuit did NOT get $1 million. McDonald’s appealed the verdict, and she ended up setting with them months later. Once her attorneys got their share, she ended up with around $30K, as I understand it, which probably covered her hospital bills that resulted in treatment for her burns. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bernie. Most large jury awards like that get settled for much less later, but no papers like to report that – it’s not sexy enough.

Tiffany

May 25th, 2012
4:06 pm

I understand how this opinion formulated. This year I lost all respect for Phaedra. As an attorney, you have to represent or carry yourself in a professional manner. The RIDICKULOUS on Housewives of Atlanta took her to an all time low. The pettiness displayed by she and Kandi Buruss was embarrassing. Why would you GOOGLE and discuss someone?? Kandi and Phaedra were two gossiping, backstabbing witches without any class. Phaedra allowed Kandi to lower her standards as a professional. The DONKEY BOOTY WAS SO IGNORANT and TRASHY!! I see why this book depicts her in this manner. You can take the person out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of an individual.

fan of the abnormal

May 25th, 2012
4:06 pm

@ Easy duz it…It does not matter what her life was…In actuality this suit is only a 5 million dollar suit. The punitive damages are merely in place as deterrence- 2 make any other publishers that would carry on in such a reckless manner think twice & to punish the defendant for their reckless disregard of truth (malice) & rehabilitate them .

As an attorney, even the appearance of impropriety is intolerable, I pray Parks wins and in the life of the law….you only have your name- once you lose that- you lose everything. @ Dame- I hate to break it to you, anyone on TV is a Public Figure. I also did my thesis on the 1st Amendment-She has a solid case!!!!

Nevertheless, the law is based on 3 things…deterrence, retribution, & rehabilitation. Only 1 applies to the plaintiff, retribution that’s the 5 million. The deterrence applies to the public, so anyone thinking of doing something foolish like this-wont. The rehabilitation applies to the defendant, so that they wont do this in the future. If you ask me, I would’ve sued for 50 Million, & I betcha I’d get it…CUZ IM THAT GOOD!!! Phaedra’s good too, so I expect her to get paid & she should…you can’t go around disparaging people’s good name to create a juicy headline or feed into shallow minds that like tabloid fodder. That’s where the 25 million comes in…

RahRah

May 25th, 2012
4:29 pm

for such a salacious story I imagine some proof existed before VIBE published Ms. Stanton’s story. The liability is huge makes me wonder why Ms. Stanton would say something so outrageous if she doesn’t have something to back it up. Someone mentioned to me that Apolo and Phaedra were separated?

Lee

May 25th, 2012
4:35 pm

Who on earth is this Phaedra Parks you speak of?

dummies

May 25th, 2012
4:40 pm

let’s see. Vibe decides to run a story about an attorney. They should have double checked, triple checked and quadruple checked that story before they ran with it . They should have known that, being an attorney, she’d sue if their story was false.

Atlanta30324

May 25th, 2012
4:52 pm

They should rename the show “Gangsta Housewives of Atlanta”!!!! They couldn’t really get a true blue Southern Buckhead lady to be on such a trashy network!!!

Aaron

May 25th, 2012
5:04 pm

“Shes the only one who seems like a hard working, decent individual.” – Are you freaking stupid? All these women are pathetic ego freaks who think they deserve everything the world has to offer. They are low-lifes and they give Atlanta in general a bad name.

KimZ'sPackage

May 25th, 2012
5:08 pm

If you can’t EARN money SUE for it.

A Simple Kind of Truth

May 25th, 2012
5:13 pm

She has a lot of experience defending criminals. Like her Jail Bird husband. LOL.

mamaj

May 25th, 2012
5:15 pm

@ Atlanta30324.
I’m trying hard to think of ANYONE (besides you), who would be interested in watching a “true blue Southern Buckhead lady (whatever that is), doing ANYTHING!. My mother lives in the heart of Buckhead, and she watches the RHOA, but wouldn’t be caught dead watching “MOB WIVES”—she is picky about the trash she watches.

A Simple Kind of Truth

May 25th, 2012
5:20 pm

She and “fan of the abnormal” = ambulance chasers

will

May 25th, 2012
5:25 pm

Every public figure that files a suit like this is not always the instigating party. There are all types of legal persons out there, lawyers and such that all they do is search for possible litigation. They source these things like finding libelous activity in books and such, then they present it to the potential aggrieved party like Ms. Parks and they say look at this, we could pursue this and possibly make money for both of us. Now, Ms. Parks being a saavy business person as she is, well naturally she is going to say, yes, let’s move forward with litigation; as anyone would.

mamaj

May 25th, 2012
5:27 pm

Atlanta already had a bad name, before The RHOA show even came on the scene, so you can’t blame that on them. Also, when was suing anyone about anything, other than it being for money? Yeah, if you can sue someone for giving you hot coffee, when you ordered hot coffee,(no matter how much she got), you can sue someone for defaming you….no bubble busted here.

Zoe

May 25th, 2012
5:36 pm

Is Ms. Parks that hard up for money? 30 millions? Really? If that is not a sure sign of an overblown sense of self worth, what is?

fan of the abnormal

May 25th, 2012
5:38 pm

@ simple kind of truth…. that’s not my thing. Also, Cappers & Runners (legal term for ambulance chasers) are illegal and will get you disbarred and in jail quick. You can’t even take money for a referral….so while the public perception of attorneys are low….no one chase ambulances anymore…not even idiots.

Im a simple southerner & -whatever G-D has 4 me, is 4 me….I haven’t chased anything or anyone in years & Im blessed not to have had 2. To whom much is given much is required, so I say give it all away & just write-it off later. However, your comment is amusing. Being a fan of the abnormal, Means Im a fan of U also!

KimZ'sPackage

May 25th, 2012
5:41 pm

Defamation of Character?

What kind of CHARACTER does she have?

KimZ'sPackage

May 25th, 2012
5:42 pm

She IS a character she doesn’t HAVE character.

Dame!

May 25th, 2012
5:50 pm

@ fan: I didn’t question who was a public figure and who wasn’t; I spoke about the self-reference claiming the same. It communicates an attitude of self-importance. Libel is libel, no matter the victim’s “public” status, or lack thereof. I’m really tall, but I don’t have to announce it to everyone to ensure the characteristic is recognized; it’s simply understood.

Phaedra is attempting to convince herself, much like she and her co-workers do on the show each time they say something like, “I’m classy. This is what classy people do.” Alert: Classy people don’t talk like that.

KimZ'sPackage

May 25th, 2012
6:02 pm

Classy People don’t put their Business Out on the Street or Reality Show.

KimZ'sPackage

May 25th, 2012
6:04 pm

A REAL Star/Classy Public people cherishes their privacy and tries to shield other family members from public intrusions.

pebblebeach

May 25th, 2012
6:06 pm

Phaedra is Gangsta…love it…

fan of the abnormal

May 25th, 2012
6:33 pm

@dame I think she’s referring to the difference between libel of jane doe & libel of a tv personality.
In order to bring defamation as a public entity there must be malice involved. Jane doe wouldn’t have to prove malice, but the law figures public figures are written about more often than regular citizens…so in order to preclude vexatious litigants or cases w/o merit there must be malice.

I interpreted the comment as her telling the court we meet the malice threshold necessary to proceed with trial. I’m sure that’s how the court will take it. Trust me, with 30 million on the line & her reputation at stake…every word n the pleading is carefully drafted.

However, I see ur perspective…but in this instance, she’s merely sayn I’m not wasting the courts time or tax payers dollars which is the judicial branch budget….I’ve been wronged with malice & I’m owed damages.

g2

May 25th, 2012
6:39 pm

jury trials in the south historically do not give very much in damages, people here don’t want others to get ahead of them financially. if i were one of those being sued i would be demanding a jury trial!

KimZ'sPackage

May 25th, 2012
6:41 pm

g2 that was stupid…..southerners don’t like to Give Money to people that have done NOTHING to EARN it.

sue the pants of them

May 25th, 2012
6:51 pm

I would file suit if it was me. That’s sad!

Gmoney

May 25th, 2012
7:18 pm

One word: trash

KimZ'sPackage

May 25th, 2012
7:24 pm

Sticks and Stones…..words could never hurt me.The Hoe has no Character to assassinate. The book couldn’t destroy something she doesn’t have.

Vining Dawg

May 25th, 2012
7:35 pm

What this lady is saying make sense because you wonder why Appollo went to jail and no one never talked about it. http://www.vibe.com/article/v-exclusive-real-housewives-atlanta-star-phaedra-parks-exposed

A Simple Kind of Truth

May 25th, 2012
7:44 pm

Apollo sounds like a two bit criminal.

Bluot

May 25th, 2012
7:56 pm

Bernnie Matt you should educate yourself on the McDonald’s hot coffee case. Once you do you will feel pretty stupid about the comment you made…