Calif. high court: Flatley can sue for extortion

Updating our Sept. 14, 2004 post: The California Supreme Court has ruled that Irish dancing impresario Michael Flatley (“Riverdance”, “Lord of the Dance”) can proceed with a suit against a woman who falsely accused him of rape and a lawyer who demanded money on the threat of proceeding with the accusation. “Lawyers for [Tyna Marie] Robertson and [D. Dean] Mauro argued that the lawsuit brought by Flatley should be thrown out because the letter was a settlement offer and was protected under the First Amendment. The state Supreme Court rejected the argument. ‘Mauro’s communications constituted criminal extortion as a matter of law and, as such, were unprotected by constitutional guarantees of free speech or petition,’ the six-member panel wrote.” (“Michael Flatley wins court ruling in extortion case”, AP/San Jose Mercury News, Jul. 27; “California court OKs Flatley’s extortion lawsuit”, AP/Chicago Sun-Times, Jul. 30).


  • How is Flatley’s countersuit not considered retaliation? Is there a difference between a politely worded settlement offer versus simply saying to a potential defendant “give me all your money”?

  • Of course it is retaliatory, but that is irrelevant. What counts is whether it is more sound in the manner of law it uses than the original shakedown and extortion attempt by the first lawyer.

  • Of course it’s retaliation!

    Retaliation is not inherently bad. All punishment is a form of “retaliation”. This would fall into that category (if it’s ben shown that her claim was actually false, of course).

  • I personally think this is a good thing. The next worse thing to being raped is being falsely accused of rape. Anyone who does that should have to face serious consequences.

    And in response to oxoaoxo’s comment, are you saying that polite criminals should not face any punishment? Isn’t locking someone up for armed robbery simply “retaliation”?!

  • […] by a woman who then demanded money. After the California Supreme Court, in a pioneering ruling, found that Flatley could countersue for extortion, he obtained a large default judgment against Tyna […]