Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Will The "Lowe Road" Strategy Backfire?

After the latest whirlwind of court filings in the Rob Lowe "nanny-gate" case, Jessica Gibson, the former employee of the Lowe family who has accused the actor of sexual harassment and both husband and wife of retaliation and various labor law violations, must be thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?"

The Lowes' strategy in the Santa Barbara Superior Court lawsuit has emerged and it turns out it is to paint a portrait of Gibson as a . . . (well, how should I put this? Let's just say it's a four letter word that rhymes with "but.")

After reading the declarations which were filed with the court I'm once again reminded that the term "civil" litigation is one of the biggest oxymorons known to mankind.

California law has long precluded a criminal defendant, accused of sexual assault, from putting on evidence that the alleged victim is a woman of "loose morals." No such restriction exists in a lawsuit between private parties.

While this "he said, she said" case may, indeed, eventually come down to a question of whom one believes, credibility will not be the issue when the case returns to court on July 10 for a pretrial motion.

Gibson is trying to get the Lowes' allegations that she breached a confidentiality agreement dismissed on the grounds that they sued her in order to silence her. To defeat Gibson's motion the Lowes must prove to the court that they probably will prevail on their claim that she blabbed about them even though she had promised not to.

But even if the judge is convinced that Gibson never passed up an opportunity to ask Rob to slather sun block on her back, appeared in front of him on at least one occasion draped only in a bath towel, and was intent on getting jiggy with the family chef anytime she wasn't doing the same with the kids' tennis instructor, it still doesn't advance the argument that Gibson is a spiller of the family beans.

In other words, my guess is that these salacious allegations aren't being made for the benefit of the judge who has to decide this motion so much as they are being made to turn the heat up on Gibson and convince her that there might be more pleasant ways to spend the next 12 or so months of her life.

I don't know about you but after reading the latest filings in this case these are the big questions that I have:

1. If the Lowes knew as far back as 2005 that Gibson was a little too flirtatious with Rob, why didn't they fire her then?

2. And after she did quit a couple of times in the interim before leaving once and for all last February, why did they hire her back each time?

3. Finally, when a mother and father take their two sons to the beach for the day, is it really necessary to bring along the nanny?

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KEYT broke into ABC network programming about 9 p.m. Tuesday night and remained on until 11:30 with a report on the brush fire that was threatening Glen Annie and La Patera Canyons.

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Another member of the KEYT alumni club as been laid off. This time it's Noelle Walker who was a reporter at KNTV, the NBC owned and operated station in the San Francisco Bay Area.