The woman who accused actress Tiffany Haddish and comedian Aries Spears of molesting her and her brother when they were children has dropped her lawsuit.
The plaintiff, a 22-year-old woman identified in pleadings only as “Jane Doe,” filed a notice of dismissal in the case on Sept. 16, according to Haddish’s lawyer Clifton W. Albright, Jr., who provided Law&Crime with a copy of the filing. The notice says that the case is to be dismissed with prejudice, which means that the plaintiff will not be allowed to file the complaint again.
“It is a privilege and pleasure to represent Ms. Tiffany Haddish,” Albright said in an email.
As Law&Crime previously reported, the case was filed on Aug. 30 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The plaintiff had sued for sexual abuse of a minor, sexual battery, sexual harassment, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and other injuries.
The complaint alleged that Haddish and Spears had “molested” and “groomed” the plaintiff and her brother during the making of comedy videos in 2013 and 2014, when the siblings were children. Haddish had been a longtime family friend of the children and their mother, according to the lawsuit.
On Sept. 6, the defendants removed the case to federal court — a moved the plaintiff opposed. In a letter to U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld dated Sept. 11, the plaintiff said the removal to federal court was “improper” for jurisdictional reasons and amounted to “forum shopping.”
A federal court may only assert “diversity jurisdiction” over a case if all the plaintiffs live in different states from all the defendants and the amount of claimed damages exceeds $75,000.
“As previously stated, there is no federal question in our pleadings,” the plaintiff’s letter to the judge said. “All the causes of action occurred in Los Angeles County. Both defendants reside in Los Angeles County. At the time of the offense, my brother and I were children and resided in Los Angeles County. Therefore, there is NO justifiable reason for Defendants to remove this matter from state court to federal court. The only plausible explanation for the defendant’s implausible decision to remove the case from state court is forum shopping.”
The plaintiff had also implied that Haddish may have overstated the amount of alleged damages.
“As much as my brother and I appreciate Haddish conceding that she has damaged us more than $75,000.00, we feel it is premature to place a value on this case since there has not been a damages assessment by an expert witness,” the plaintiff’s letter said.
In her letter, the plaintiff said that she intended to file a motion to remand the case back to state court, but asked for a 30-day window to negotiate a settlement with Haddish. An email to Haddish’s lawyer, also dated Sept. 11, was attached as an exhibit to the plaintiff’s filing, in which she laid out her conditions for mediation.
“If my brother and I are to participate in mediation it will only be with a mediator of our choosing, and your client must pay for all mediation expenses,” the letter said. “The mediation must take place in Las Vegas within the next two weeks.”
In that email, the plaintiff said that Haddish would be expected to make some public statements, should the matter settle.
“If we succeed in agreeing to a settlement, I am willing to put out a joint statement with Haddish where we state that the parties have agreed to a private settlement, and Haddish must publicly apologize for her role in the skits, as well as recant her shakedown statement directed towards our mother, and state that she never intended to harm my brother, mother and me,” the plaintiff’s email said.
It wasn’t immediately clear from the federal docket when or why the plaintiff decided to dismiss the case, although the plaintiff reportedly released a statement to TMZ.
“My family and I have known Tiffany Haddish for many years – and we now know that she would never harm me or my brother or help anyone else do anything that could harm us,” the plaintiff said, according to a TMZ report. “We wish Tiffany the best and are glad that we can all put this behind us.”
You can read the notice of dismissal, below.
[Picture of Aries Spears by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Photo of Tiffany Haddish by Michael Tran/AFP via Getty Images.]
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