Amber Heard is misguided and puzzling.
A Virginia judge slammed Amber Heard’s attempt to dismiss Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit, calling it “misguided” and “puzzling.” As a result, Depp’s lawsuit against his former wife will move along toward trial, which is scheduled for next year.
Depp has been involved in two separate lawsuits (one on each side of the Atlantic Ocean, to be exact) over Heard’s ongoing allegations that Depp was physically abusive to her during their marriage. In the UK, Depp sued British outlet The Sun over an article describing him as a “wife beater” in a headline; Depp’s claim was dismissed after a British court held a three-week trial and found the the headline had been “substantially true.”
In a separate case proceeding in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia, Depp sued Heard for defamation in connection with Heard’s 2018 Washington Post op-ed, in which she spoke out about being the victim of domestic violence. Heard’s article did not specifically name Depp as her alleged abuser, but according to Depp’s lawsuit, it relied “on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her.”
Following the UK’s ruling against Depp, Heard moved to dismiss the case in Virginia. In her motion, Heard made a number of legal arguments, all of which amounted to the same ask: that the Virginia court simply use the UK court’s finding that it is “substantially true” that Depp is a “wife beater.”
Under American law, there are several mechanisms by which a court will rely on the factual findings in one case for use in a separate case. These legal concepts include collateral estoppel, res judicata, and comity — all of which require a party to convince a court of the fairness of one court’s deferring to another court’s findings. Chief Judge Penney Azcarate rejected Heard’s arguments outright, finding that there is no legal basis for using the foreign court’s ruling in favor of The Sun as a means for Heard to dismiss Depp’s libel claim against her.