Lenny Dykstra’s defamation and libel lawsuit against his former Mets teammate Ron Darling was dismissed by a judge Friday.
The former Mets outfielder filed a lawsuit about a year ago against Darling following the release of the pitcher’s autobiography, “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game.” In the book, Darling claims Dykstra shouted racial taunts at Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd from the on-deck circle before Game 3 of the 1986 World Series.
New York Supreme Court Judge Robert D. Kalish ruled that Dykstra’s “reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct and bigotry is already so tarnished that it cannot be further injured.”
Dykstra, who played for the Mets from 1985 to 1989, was seeking monetary damages, compensatory damages, “including emotional distress damages for loss of opportunities, for the severe mental anguish, loss of reputation and humiliation, caused by Defendants’ unlawful and malicious conduct,” punitive damages and court costs.
Kalish agreed with Darling’s motion to dismiss Dykstra’s lawsuit under the libel-proof plaintiff doctrine, citing Dykstra’s legal history and stories told in his own autobiography, “House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge” as his basis for dismissing the suit.
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“Based on the papers submitted on this motion, prior to the publication of the book, Dykstra was infamous for being, among other things, racist, misogynist, and anti-gay, as well as a sexual predator, a drug-abuser, a thief, and an embezzler,” Kalish wrote. “Further, Dykstra had a reputation — largely due to his autobiography — of being willing to do anything to benefit himself and his team, including using steroids and blackmailing umpires.
“There are sports commentators, bloggers and legions of baseball fans to litigate this issue in a public space. This Court, however, has cases involving lost livelihoods, damaged and lost lives, as well as plaintiffs that have suffered very real reputational injuries. Accordingly, Darling and Publisher Defendants’ motions to dismiss the first cause of action for defamation, pursuant to the libel-proof plaintiff doctrine, are granted.”
Dykstra, 57, is no stranger to the court room. In March 2012, he was sentenced to three years in California state prison after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement. He was also sentenced to 6 ½ months in prison nine months later after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering, causing his sentences to be served concurrently.
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