Liz wants remarks removed from same-sex sexual harassment suit

BY Advocate.com Editors

September 24 2003 12:00 AM ET

Elizabeth Taylor has asked a judge to strike "inflammatory, irrelevant, and false" allegations about the actress from a lawsuit that her former gardener filed. Willem Van Muyden claimed he suffered improper sexual advances from her butler in his superior court lawsuit filed in July, which seeks unspecified damages from Taylor. Van Muyden claims in the lawsuit that he was fired without being paid $294,000 Taylor owes him for 10 years of gardening work. Van Muyden also makes allegations in the lawsuit about Taylor having a relationship with the butler, Jean-Luc Lacquement, who filed a notice of demurrer that argues the gardener's complaint has no merit. The butler's attorney did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.

In papers filed September 15, Taylor's representatives asked the court to strike those details from the lawsuit along with Van Muyden's claims for punitive damages. "These allegations are included merely as inflammatory, irrelevant, and false insinuations which do not belong in the complaint.... They add nothing to the complaint except an inappropriate intimation of scandal," the document states, adding that the gardener was trying embarrass the 71-year-old actress into a settlement. Taylor's attorney, Martin Singer, said Monday he would prefer if the judge heeded Lacquement's filing and threw the lawsuit out because the gardener "has no legitimate claims." Van Muyden's attorney, Mark Leonardo, said he was "not surprised" by the counterfilings but said he expects that his client's lawsuit will prevail.

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