Ryan O'Neal wins appeals ruling in defamation case
- Photo: JuanSharma/Bruja/Pacific Coast News1 of 21
- Photo: Reed Saxon/Invision/AP2 of 21
- Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP3 of 21
- Photo: Matt Rourke/Invision/AP4 of 21
- Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP5 of 21
- Photo: Invision/AP6 of 21
- Photo: Gary Lewis/Retna Digital7 of 21
- Photo: © Kiley Bishop / Retna Ltd./Retna Ltd.8 of 21
- Photo: Invision/AP9 of 21
- Photo: Promotional10 of 21
- Photo: Invision/AP11 of 21
- Photo: ABC/WENN12 of 21
- Photo: The Andy Warhol Foundation Inc./Promotional13 of 21
- Photo: Armando Gallo/Retna Ltd.14 of 21
- Photo: Sara De Boer/Retna Ltd.15 of 21
- Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Invision/AP16 of 21
- Photo: Alan Berliner/BEImages/Rex USA17 of 21
- Photo: Invision/AP18 of 21
- Photo: Kirkland/Retna Ltd.19 of 21
- Photo: Katy Winn/Invision/AP20 of 21
ANTHONY McCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan O'Neal may have enough evidence to show that he was defamed by a man who claimed the actor stole a valuable portrait of the late Farrah Fawcett, an appeals court ruled Thursday.
A divided panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that O'Neal's case against Craig Nevius, a former Fawcett associate, should be allowed to proceed and that the actor may be able to win some damages. One justice disagreed and wrote that the case should be dismissed.
RELATED: Celebs without makeup
O'Neal sued in July 2011, claiming he was defamed by Nevius' comments that the actor had stolen a Fawcett portrait created by Andy Warhol. The painting is the subject of a separate lawsuit between O'Neal and the University of Texas, which claims Fawcett left the artwork to the school after her 2009 death.
Nevius' attorney, Lincoln Bandlow, said he would appeal the ruling to the California Supreme Court. He had appealed a lower court's ruling allowing the case to go forward.
O'Neal's attorney Todd Eagan wrote in a statement that he and O'Neal were pleased with the ruling. "We look forward to a complete victory against Mr. Nevius at trial," he wrote.
O'Neal's suit seeks more than $1 million in damages. He claimed in the case that Warhol gave him the portrait and he intends to bequeath it to his only son from his longtime relationship with Fawcett, Redmond O'Neal.
Nevius' comments that O'Neal stole the artwork were made in interviews with Star magazine and "Good Morning America," and he cooperated with UT investigators searching for the portrait.
Although Nevius initially denied he accused O'Neal of stealing the painting, he acknowledged in a later court filing that he made the claim to university investigators.
"The inferences reasonably drawn from the evidence here would support a jury's finding that Nevius harbored strong ill-feelings toward O'Neal," the justices siding with O'Neal wrote. The dissent argues that Nevius' comments were constitutionally protected speech and the case should have been dismissed.
O'Neal's fight with UT over the portrait returns to court Feb. 27.
The actor and Nevius have battled in court for years.
Nevius collaborated on a documentary of Fawcett's fight with cancer but sued the actor claiming he interfered in the project and removed him from it shortly before Fawcett's death. The case was dismissed before trial.
Fergie, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Heidi Klum all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »
Diva Double Date
Beyonce and Alicia Keys double date with their famous hubbies on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Where Are They?
See what the cast of "American Beauty" is up to today.Watch Video »
J.Lo's Mini Me
Jennifer Lopez shares an adorable photo of her look-alike daughter, plus more celebritots on social media on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Prince Harry, Jessica Alba and more stars who threw out the first pitch at baseball games.Watch Video »
Sofia Vergara poses in a revealing neon bikini while her "Modern Family" castmates hit the beach in Australia on Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Like us on Facebook?
UP NEXTKids' choice '15
From Crowd Ignite