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Woman sued by Brett Ratner asks court to dismiss defamation case

Brett Ratner. (Willy Sanjuan / Associated Press)
Brett Ratner. (Willy Sanjuan / Associated Press)

Melanie Kohler, the woman Brett Ratner sued last year after she accused him of rape, has asked the court to dismiss the producer’s defamation complaint on the grounds that he didn’t include sufficient facts to support his claim. 

The motion also argues that California’s Anti-SLAPP law, which protects against frivolous lawsuits targeting people with limited financial resources, should be applied to the Hawaii complaint and lead to its dismissal.  

"[S]uch threadbare, conclusory allegations are patently insufficient as a matter of law,” Kohler’s attorneys said in a motion filed Tuesday in U.S District Court in Hawaii. 

Kohler, a former marketing executive who now owns a surfboard shop in Hawaii with her husband, posted her allegation on Facebook in October, shortly before the Los Angeles Times reported that six women with ties to Hollywood accused Ratner of sexual harassment or misconduct. 

“Without explanation, the Complaint quotes only a small fraction of Ms. Kohler's FB Post. It then alleges — with no further detail — that this statement was ‘false, fabricated, and fictional,’ and that Ms. Kohler published it with 'knowledge of its falsity, maliciously, and with the intent to harm Plaintiff’s reputation and standing.’ That’s it,” the filing says. 

Kohler said in the Facebook post that Ratner forced himself on her while she was drunk in 2004 or 2005, when she lived in Los Angeles. Shortly after it went up, Ratner’s attorney, Martin Singer, called her about the post and said his client would sue her. 

“I was scared,” Kohler told The Times in a late-October interview, “so I took it down.” 

Hours after The Times’ article was published Nov. 1, Kohler was sued in U.S. District Court in Hawaii. A week later, Kohler said on “Good Morning America” that she stands by her allegation

Singer did not respond immediately Wednesday to a request for comment on the new filing. 

A representative for Kohler attorney Roberta A. Kaplan called Ratner’s lawsuit “nothing more than attempt to chill her speech and to scare other accusers into silence.”

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