ABA Journal


Tort Law

Ex-Miss USA contestant must pay $5M to Donald Trump; judge blames her ‘poor choice of counsel’

Jul 8, 2013, 07:25 pm CDT


It is a travesty that an attractive woman should have to pay any amount of money to Donald Trump. There is something wrong with our law. The French would never allow this.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 08, 11:51 pm CDT

The real surprise here is that it is possible to say something defamatory about Trump (assuming truth is still a defense).

By Pushkin on 2013 07 09, 3:51 am CDT

What really bugs me is that you've got obvious sour grapes, and a dumb comment, from a losing beauty pageant contestant - nothing that anybody would take seriously - and Trump is a big enough prick to seek damages, claiming that this is what's sinking his crappy little contest into obscurity.

That, and an attorney who apparently employs HOPE as a sustitute for WORK. Hoping that the arbitrator would use common sense and ignore the lame "evidence" of the plaintiff, rather than showing up and pointing out the lameness, was supreme idiocy. (Any guesses as to what fraction of the $5M award this joker will eventually furnish?)

On the bright side, Klineburger can now collect millions from the judge, in view of the lost income he's going to suffer . . . and all he has to do is HOPE that the judge fails to show up for the arbitration hearing.

By Ham Solo on 2013 07 09, 3:50 pm CDT

TRUMP should have learned his lesson (in a quote from) President Lincoln (about himself) "Better that you should keep your thoughts to yourself and let people think you a moron than to open your mouth and to leave the people no doubt".
He certainly destroyed all of his credibility, and political potential, by opening his mouth during his bid for President of the United States (what a personal disaster that was!). .
At a time when he could have had a PR coup by being forgiving and reassuring, he has, in my opinion, destroyed his personal credibility and the credibility of the pageant.
"Methinks thou doest protest too much". (Shakespeare). Applicable?
I will not watch the pageant, nor will I support any of the advertisers who support the pageant. I'm only one vote, but I am one vote.....
NOTE TO DONALD TRUMP..... Invite Sheena Monnin to participate in the MISS USA Pageant, and reassure her, and the world, that this contest is fair and impartial in it's results, and that there are no favorites. If you do that, maybe people will believe in you again.

By davebert on 2013 07 09, 5:40 pm CDT

This thread seems to be anti-Trump. Seems to me any guy who doesn't like high priced "puddles" for his restaurant meals and Obama can't be all bad.

By Joe on 2013 07 12, 12:43 pm CDT

Of course its rigged. She must have known this prior to entering the pageant with eyes wide open. The point is to pad your resume with the experience, not to "win".

By You call this coffee!? on 2013 07 12, 5:07 pm CDT

So now she should sue her lawyer for his negligent representation & then she can settle with The Donald....or someone could represent her pro bono in bankruptcy & The Donald could object to the discharge of this ridiculous, trumped up damage judgment.and oh, he's been there before himself hasn't he???
@4 - lol!! Great comment!!

By Dixie Chick on 2013 07 12, 5:33 pm CDT

Can we citizens all sue Donald Trump for the damage he caused to our nation by falsely claiming that the November 2012 vote was rigged? He is an awful, hideous creature.

By R on 2013 07 12, 5:44 pm CDT

#6: There's a lot of padding going on at the Miss USA Pageant, but it ain't resumes.

By R on 2013 07 12, 5:45 pm CDT

True issue here is judge's comment that a 'choice of a lawyer' is to blame: here it shows again, that justice depends on lawyers' skills, not Law. The worst part is that, the Judge doesn't do anything about it. Justice is nothing more than lawyers' tools for making money i.e. real horror for laymen leading to unfortunate violence more and more.
Med. Doctors are in the same category: some 195,000 death per year due to their 'mistakes.' While mistakes are possible, most of it come from justice system's failure to address it properly at the source i.e. same old, same old money issues. Here again, why should we be 'shocked' at raising violence against.
Most doctors and lawyers are not educated people, they are simply skilled (hopefully) at their trade while completely dumb when it comes to critical thinking, humanity, etc. Sad.

By Whatever on 2013 07 12, 6:04 pm CDT

R@9, more duct and other types of tape than padding.

By Realist on 2013 07 12, 7:05 pm CDT

Did anyone consider that her attorney has (or better have) malpractice insurance? I can see no excuse for his bad legal advice, which I consider negligent, reckless, and far outside accepted standards of practicing law.

There's no sense pointing fingers at anybody but the defendant and her attorney. Nobody defamed Trump; as the article clearly says, it's the pageant company that sustained the damage.

Calling a contest rigged is about as lethal as defamation can get. Much though I hate beauty pageants for using people as fodder to be rated on appearances, $5 million is actually appropriate.

By Avon on 2013 07 12, 7:06 pm CDT

#10 (Whatever) -- The judge's statement about her situation being due to her choice of lawyer does not mean that justice necessarily depends on lawyers' skills -- and certainly not in this case. What the judge meant was that due to her unfortunate choice of an attorney who advised her not to participate in the proceedings, and because she followed that ill-conceived advice, the arbitration proceeding only had one side's evidence to consider. That will be the same result in any court action -- if the other side doesn't show up, you get what is called a "Default Judgment." Everyone has the OPPORTUNITY to be heard. Because she wasted her opportunity, presented no arguments or evidence, and thumbed her nose at the system, then of course the system is going to bite her in her well-toned rear end. That is the LAW.

But the LAW does not leave her without recourse; the advice she claims she followed constitutes malpractice, and if true, she now has a cause of action against the attorney who gave her that bad advice.

Also, perhaps doctors and some other professionals -- perhaps even attorneys -- are not "educated," and are "simply skilled" in their profession. However, attorneys are specifically trained in "critical thinking," which is a "skill" for that profession -- although they may or may not look at cases with a significant sense of "humanity" -- mostly because "critical thinking" and "humanity" are polar opposites. Attorneys focus on the law, and the law is blind to things like emotion and humanity, and the law focuses on "justice" rather than "fairness" (except, of course, in certain matters of equity, where the law specifically defines "fairness" and requires that it be enforced).

By sb on 2013 07 12, 7:44 pm CDT

From B. McLeod:

"It is a travesty that an attractive woman should have to pay any amount of money to Donald Trump. There is something wrong with our law. The French would never allow this."

I prefer "It is a travesty that anyone should have to pay any amount of money to Donald Trump."

By Redneck Lawyer on 2013 07 12, 10:23 pm CDT

Aw c'mon Avon, it's not a 'beauty pageant.' It's an opportunity to win a scholarship to college. Or, for some, an opportunity to bring peace to the world.

By fnlawyer on 2013 07 13, 2:17 am CDT

She's right, all these pageants are rigged. That's just the truth.

By atty&formerpageantqueen on 2013 07 13, 3:41 pm CDT

$5 mil is chump change for donald. He spends that much each year upgrading his yacht.

By Asolist on 2013 07 13, 5:57 pm CDT

So, unless Klineburger' wants to tell the world that Trump bought him off, I'd guess Miss Pennsylvania USA is out of luck, unless she gets a lucky appeal lawyer. (Polite cough.)

I bet those contests are decided in advance.

By Tom Youngjohn on 2013 07 13, 11:11 pm CDT

#9 & 16--right on!!! (Her lawyer should told everyone he was defending her against Trumped-up charges.)

By NOW JERRY BROWN on 2013 07 14, 3:40 am CDT

I always wondered which card he was in the special, "Iraqi Freedom" deck.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 14, 4:00 am CDT

@21 - That'd be the red joker.

By NoleLaw on 2013 07 15, 2:11 pm CDT

I would bet the Donald next tries to negotiate a postjudgment settlement that would require her to perform some unspeakable personal services.

By AndytheLawyer on 2013 07 15, 4:44 pm CDT

@22 - Like feeding him NY style pizza with a fork and knife?

By NoleLaw on 2013 07 16, 12:39 pm CDT

Or maybe *shudder* be his campaign adviser for the '16 presidential race? He couldn't be that much of a sadist, could he?

By NoleLaw on 2013 07 16, 12:40 pm CDT

Nole: I think Trump subscribes to the theory that "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

This is actually true for a guy whose primary talent is not business (he's mangaged to lose money* on several projects -- even on a casino), but hucksterism (he's gotten people to care who he "fires" on TV, or who wins the Miss USA pageant.)

By Ham Solo on 2013 07 16, 3:22 pm CDT

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