Back in 2018, Ralph Watson, former chief creative officer of CP+B’s Boulder office, filed a defamation lawsuit against Diet Madison Avenue. A U.S. District Court Judge in New York ruled last week that the defamation lawsuit can proceed against the Jane Does allegedly affiliated with Diet Madison Avenue.
The judge did narrow the case, some charges were rejected.
The defendant described as New York Doe 2, allegedly told Crispin Porter and Bogusky that Watson raped her.
Watson has countered that Doe 2 made the rape claim up in retaliation for his putting her on probation after making inappropriate “advances” toward him. Watson was dismissed by the agency in early 2018 after the ad agency said it probed a number of harassment allegations made against him.
The veracity of the rape charges aren't decided here; “The plaintiff has alleged sufficiently that NY Doe 2 made the defamatory statements with constitutional or actual malice.”
Meanwhile, Illinois Doe 1, pleaded that she was just a re-poster and re-tweeter of allegations that others had made against Watson and that claims against her for doing that should be tossed. The judge, Southern District’s John G. Koeltl, ruled that under New York law someone who republishes a defamatory statement is potentially as liable as the original publisher of the statement. So he denied her motion to dismiss the defamation charge related to those actions. Judge Koeltl did however, dismiss other defamation charges made against her by Watson.
The judge allowed Watson to proceed with a tortious interference charge against NY Doe 2, as her rape charge allegedly led to Watson’s dismissal from CPB. Watsons other tortious interference and conspiracy charges were dismissed, as were the claims laid against NY Doe 3.
It will be interesting to see what his lawyers learn in the discovery phase. Who wants to bet Diet Madison Avenue had some big name insiders enabling this?