Pullman & Comley Bankruptcy Practice Chair Elizabeth Austin was quoted in The Hartford Courant on the ruling by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge on Friday, July 17 that the woman whose sex tape was posted online by rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson III) can have her trial continue as scheduled despite the rapper's bankruptcy filing.
On July 10, a jury in a civil damages case in the state court in New York City concluded that Mr. Jackson must pay Ms. Austin's creditor client Lastonia Leviston $5 million in compensatory damages. The verdict vindicated Ms. Leviston’s claim that, without her consent, Mr. Jackson had posted a sex video of her online.
On Monday, July 13, Mr. Jackson filed his bankruptcy petition in Hartford fifteen minutes before the start of a scheduled hearing in the New York case on whether he must pay Ms. Leviston punitive damages on top of the $5 million.
On Friday, July 17 in Hartford, Ms. Austin argued in support of the motion to lift the automatic bankruptcy stay to require the punitive damages hearing to go forward.
Ms. Austin called the bankruptcy filing an attempt to prevent the jury in New York from doing its job and to prevent her client from obtaining another judgment against Jackson.
"The punitive damage claim needs to be quantified," she said, noting that the most efficient way to do that was to allow the trial in New York to continue.
The Bankruptcy Court granted the motion for relief from the stay. To read the full story, please click here.