Tags: britney | spears

Britney Spears Files a Civil Rights Lawsuit

Tuesday, 19 Feb 2008 09:43 AM

By James Hirsen

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Attorney Jon Eardley, who purports to represent Britney Spears, has filed documents in an L.A. U.S. District Court to move Britney’s conservatorship case from the Los Angeles County Superior Court to federal court. Eardley maintains offices in Washington, D.C., Jericho, New York, and Whittier, Calif.

Eardley claims in court papers that, without due process, Spears “is being confined by the conservator to the private prison of her own home,” and he contends that this is a violation of her civil rights.

After Britney twice spent time in a psychiatric ward, Superior Court Commissioner Reva Goetz placed her in a temporary conservatorship under her father Jamie and his attorney, Andrew Wallet. The order will continue until a scheduled hearing on March 10.

“I see the case as a civil rights case,” Eardley told People magazine. “These are issues of confinement. Very serious confinement. Not allowed to contact her friends. Not allowed to use the phone. Not allowed to come and go as you please. Bodyguards controlling you and so forth.”

Under the terms of the conservatorship, Spears lacks the capacity to hire her own lawyer without the approval of her conservators.

Spears’ civil rights case is unlikely to be heard by the federal court.

When an individual is determined by a court to be unable to handle his or her own affairs, a conservatorship is established. By definition, anyone who is placed in a conservatorship could claim that his or her civil rights have been violated.

This area of the law, though, is handled exclusively by state courts, and therefore a federal judge would be extremely reluctant to get involved.

Interestingly, a copy of Eardley’s filing was delivered to the L.A. Superior Court by Spears’ former manager Sam Lufti’s publicist, Michael Sands.

Sands also handled publicity matters for Mark Vincent Kaplan, the lawyer who represents Spears’ ex-husband Kevin Federline.

With this cast of characters the only question is, When will the “Six Degrees of Britney” game come out?

In other celebrity-related legal news, Paris Hilton is being investigated by the L.A. Department of Animal Services.

It turns out that during a recent appearance on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Hilton made mention of the number of dogs that she owns.

“I have 17 dogs . . . They all sleep in my bed — well, not all of them, but I let some of them,” the heiress divulged.

Paris explained that she has so many dogs because “they keep having babies, and I feel bad about giving them away.”

Officials from the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services apparently watch the “Ellen” show, because after the revelation they showed up at Hilton’s home to inspect.

The city of L.A. has an ordinance that allows three pets per home unless the pet owner happens to be a commercial breeder.

Since Hilton wasn’t at home at the time of the officials’ visit, they left a “notice to comply” [with the law] form for her perusal.

While contending with her pet violations, Hilton has also had to deal with some stinky reviews of her new movie, “'The Hottie and The Nottie.”

Users of the Internet Movie Database voted the flick the worst movie ever made.

On a scale of 1-10, film fans gave it a 1.2 — not a hottie, but a really big nottie.

James Hirsen is a media analyst, Trinity Law School professor and teacher of mass media law at Biola University.

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