The $5 million lawsuit that erupted out of a fight between Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller and actual dance mom Kelly Hyland has taken a bit of misstep for the plaintiff. In a hearing today in downtown LA. Superior Court, Judge Ruth Kwan indicated that she will likely throw out the defamation and emotional distress claims that cast member Hyland and her daughters slapped Miller and producers Collins Avenue Entertainment with in their multi-claim February 19 complaint. However, in the motion to strike hearing this morning, the judge cautioned lawyers that she hasn’t made a final decision yet. Judge Kwan also says she may allow Hyland’s breach of contract claims against Collins to continue based on a further hearing next week. The assault claim by Hyland in this case still looks to stand. Miller has gone after Hyland also saying she assaulted her.
This whole legal brawl all came out of a November 22, 2013 clash between Miller and Hyland over the “bullying and insulting” way the former was treating the latter’s daughters on the show. With Paige and Brooke Hyland looking on, the two women screamed at each other with Miller lunging forward and Hyland slapping her. The incident was shown on the long-running Lifetime series earlier this year
On the flip side, the 9-claim complaint went a bit behind the scenes to allege that “the producers of the show [Collins Avenue Entertainment], in an effort to attract ratings and viewership, encourage and facilitate conflicts between Miller on the one hand and the young girl dancers and their mothers on the other.” Things fired up even more for Hyland supposedly when Miller went on The View to talk about the incident. That’s where the now surely dead defamation claim came from, which Miller’s lawyers have seemingly successfully defended as free speech. Hyland also says she was tossed off the show with a suspension but never got anything in writing – hence the breach of contract. She is additionally claiming her compensation for appearing on the show by Collins.
Attorneys Jordan Grotzinger and Robert Freud of LA firm Greenberg Traurig LLP are representing Miller in the case. Keli Sager of the LA offices of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is handling things for Collins Entertainment. LA’s Michael Shapiro and San Marcos’ Marcus Jackson are representing the Hylands.