Meghan Markle has won a defamation suit brought by her estranged half-sister Samantha Markle after a judge ruled that comments made by the Duchess of Sussex were nothing but opinion.
On Thursday, U.S. District Attorney Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell dismissed the defamation suit with prejudice on the grounds that comments made by the former “Suits” actress about her half-sister, which Samantha claimed were defamatory, were opinions, People magazine reported.
In 2022, Samantha filed the suit against the member of the royal family for claims made about her in the unauthorized biography from Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand “Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family.” She was upset about a chapter titled, “A Problem Like Samantha,” which focused on the couple’s romance from the beginning to the royal pair stepping down as senior members of the royal family.
Meghan Markle wins defamation lawsuit against half-sister Samantha https://t.co/UMsvvvmCUL pic.twitter.com/t8M54OFmXz
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Honeywell said that Markle “cannot be held liable for statements in a book that she did not publish.”
In a second part of the suit, the duchess’ estranged half-sister claimed comments the royal made during her sit-down tell-all interview on CBS in 2021 with Oprah Winfrey where defamatory. During the interview, Markle said she “grew up as an only child,” and she also said her half-sister “changed her last name back to Markle … only when I started dating Harry. And so I think that says enough.”
The judge said Meghan Markle’s comment was not falsifiable and protected opinion as she dismissed the claim.
“Here, a reasonable listener would not think that [Meghan] was suggesting that she has no half-siblings, that [Samantha] does not actually exist, or that [Samantha] is not related to her,” Honeywell wrote. “As a reasonable listener would understand it, Defendant merely expresses an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings. Thus, the Court finds that Defendant’s statement is not objectively verifiable or subject to empirical proof.”
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“For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants the motion to dismiss,” the judge added. “Plaintiff’s claims based on ‘Finding Freedom’ will be dismissed with prejudice, as Plaintiff cannot plausibly allege that Defendant published the book, and amendment of these claims would be futile.”
“Plaintiff will be allowed one final opportunity to replead her claims related to Defendant’s CBS interview and her claim for injurious falsehood,” Honeywell concluded.
At the time Samantha filed the suit last March, she was seeking $75,000 in damages, the BBC reported.
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