News Column

Casey Anthony Asks Judge to Throw Out Zenaida Gonzalez's Punitive Damages Claim

Oct. 9, 2012

Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel

Casey Anthony
Casey Anthony

Attorneys for Casey Anthony in a pair of new court filings continue their attempt to limit testimony in her upcoming civil defamation trial, and also to limit the amount of money Anthony could be ordered to pay if she loses.

In a new motion filed Monday, Anthony's lawyers ask the judge to throw out Zenaida Gonzalez's claim for punitive damages -- essentially, an additional penalty meant to punish Anthony.

Based on the evidence and argument presented in the lawsuit so far, "there is insufficient evidence to support a claim that Ms. Anthony is personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence," Anthony's defense says.

Gonzalez filed suit after Anthony told detectives a similarly named nanny had kidnapped her daughter, 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, in 2008. Authorities interviewed Gonzalez, and she was linked to the case in the media.

Anthony's defense argues the crux of the suit is a visit Anthony's mother, Cindy, made to her daughter while Casey Anthony was in jail.

Casey Anthony, Gonzalez's lawyers argue, told her mother Gonzalez had not been ruled out as a suspect in Caylee's disappearance, and Cindy Anthony relayed that information to reporters, thrusting Gonzalez into a media firestorm.

Gonzalez "must allege and prove that both [Cindy Anthony] and [Casey Anthony] participated in the egregious conduct" in order to have a viable claim for punitive damages, the new defense motion states.

"[Gonzalez] has failed to plead or prove that... Cindy Anthony, purposefully or recklessly uttered a false statement about her," Anthony's defense argues.

In a separate filing, Anthony's lawyers also asked Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon to prevent Gonzalez's lawyers from arguing at trial that Anthony's actions had a negative impact on Gonzalez's children

In interviews, Gonzalez has said that being linked to the ultra-high-profile case upended her life and those of her children. But Anthony's lawyers argue the impact on Gonzalez's children is irrelevant and inadmissible.

"The 'impact' on Plaintiff's children cannot be used to bolster the frivolous claims that have been brought in this lawsuit," a new defense motion states.

The lawsuit is currently set for trial in January. Anthony, 26, was acquitted on all major criminal charges in the death of her daughter after a high-profile murder trial last year.

Source: (c)2012 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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