Six months after dismissing Richard Simmons' libel-invasion of privacy suit against the National Enquirer, Radar Online and their publisher over stories claiming he was undergoing a sex change, a judge ordered the exercise guru to pay nearly $130,000 in attorneys' fees to the media defendants, court papers obtained Monday show.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian issued his ruling Friday. He had taken the defense motion for attorneys' fees under submission after hearing arguments on Jan. 31. Keosian's $128,625 award consists of an underlying amount of $110,250 for the general costs of preparing the dismissal motion and the remainder to compensate the defendants for attorneys' fees.
The defendants had sought $220,000, which Simmons' lawyers criticized as a "billing fiesta.'' In his Sept. 1 ruling dismissing Simmons' case, Keosian said it appeared to be one of "first-impression.'' He said falsely reporting that a person is transgender does not necessarily "have a natural tendency'' to hurt one's reputation.
Simmons is appealing the dismissal motion. In his lawsuit filed May 8, Simmons contended the series of articles falsely suggested that he was transitioning from male to female, and that the stories were based on phony information provided by a former assistant.