The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Oprah to Face Trial in PA for Defamation

Oprah Winfrey had to find herself a good Pennsylvania personal injury attorney. Her upcoming defamation trial will begin in Philadelphia on March 29.

Winfrey, who is known for her extreme philanthropy, is being sued by he former headmistress of a school set up by Winfrey. The defamation lawsuit alleges that Winfrey made comments which defamed the former headmistress of Winfrey's South African leadership academy for girls. 

The plaintiff, Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane, was suspended and fired from the school, following abuse allegations at the South African school. Winfrey, according to the defamation lawsuit, allegedly made statements claiming that Mzamane knew about the abuse and attempted to cover it up. These statements, Mzamane argues, were made publicly, as they were made at a news conference as well as in private meetings with the parents. 

Winfrey was quoted as saying "any person that has caused harm to students would be let go" and that she had "lost confidence" in Mzamane's ability to run a school.

The South African girls' school was rocked with abuse allegations in 2007, when details emerged about underaged girls being forced to perform sex acts.

Mzamane claims that Winfrey's statements have harmed her reputation and her ability to find another job. 

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo Robreno ruled that Winfrey's comments could potentially be interpreted by a jury to be defamatory. While this does not mean that they necessarily will be considered defamatory, it certainly makes the case more difficult for Winfrey's Pennsylvania personal injury attorney. 

Related Resources