Orange County Superior Court Judge Layne H. Melzer granted “The Real Housewives of Orange County” star Shannon Beador’s Motion to Strike a complaint filed by James Bellino, the husband of former cast member Alexis Bellino, under California’s anti-SLAPP statute.

A California judge has allowed “The Real Housewives of Orange County” star Shannon Beador to avoid a $1 million defamation suit launched against her and one of her co-stars, Tamra Judge.

In a 14-page minute order issued on January 7, 2019, Orange County Superior Court Judge Layne H. Melzer granted Beador’s motion to strike James Bellino’s complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which is intended as a way to terminate lawsuits that involve the exercise of free speech, early in the process. Judge Melzer ruled there was no evidence that Beador’s statements about Bellino’s trampoline park business caused any damages to him or his business. Judge Melzer wrote that Beador’s statements that she had heard that Bellino no longer owned a trampoline park because he was sued, and that she won’t let her children go to trampoline parks because “people get paralyzed,” was not slander per se, and that Bellino hadn’t shown he was injured by those statements.

Judge Melzer, however, denied the anti-SLAPP motion filed by Beador’s co-defendant and fellow “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Tamra Judge, ruling that her statements that Bellino got a “fake” divorce and was “going to jail” were in fact slander per se and can not be dismissed as just jokes. “While defendants describe the show as designed to be amusing and funny, there is no suggestion that the participants were simply doing a comedy routine,” Judge Melzer wrote. “They were ‘dishing’ about the show’s participants.”

Bellino, the ex-husband of former “Real Housewives” star Alexis Bellino sought over $1 million in damages in his July 2018 lawsuit that accused Beador and Judge of slandering him and his business Jump Management Co. LLC during a live interview with podcast host Heather McDonald, held in June 2018 at the Irvine Improv Comedy Club.

Bellino is represented by Geoffrey A. Neri of Brown Neri Smith & Khan LLP.

Beador is represented by Brett Williamson, Bo Pearl, Nora Salem and Kurt Brown of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

Judge is represented by Jason H. Anderson of Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth APC.

The case is James Bellino et al. v. Tamra Judge et al., case number 30-2018-01008497, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Orange

* Lowe & Associates (“The Firm”) is a boutique entertainment and business litigation firm located in Beverly Hills, California. The Firm has extensive experience handling cases involving entertainment law, having provided top quality legal services to its clients since 1991. The Firm is recognized in multiple publications for its many achievements and high ethical standards, including Martindale-Hubbell and Super Lawyers.

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