Ariel Winter's mom sues actor for defamation
- Photo: Nikki Nelson/WENN1 of 14
- Photo: GettyImages.com2 of 14
- Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage3 of 14
- Photo: AXELLE WOUSSEN/Bauer-Griffin4 of 14
- Photo: Alexandra Wyman/WireImage5 of 14
- Photo: Jordan Strauss/WireImage6 of 14
- Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage7 of 14
- Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage8 of 14
- Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage9 of 14
- Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage10 of 14
- Photo: PHIL MCCARTEN/Invision/AP11 of 14
- Photo: DT2/WENN12 of 14
- Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com13 of 14
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The mother of "Modern Family" actress Ariel Winter sued an associate of her adult daughter for defamation Monday, claiming he falsely labeled her an "abusive monster" in an online comment about a custody struggle for the teenage star.
Chrisoula Workman filed the defamation and false light lawsuit against Matthew Borlenghi, claiming his comment attached to a Nov. 9 Los Angeles Times online story was false and has harmed her reputation.
Borlenghi is an actor who teaches at a studio operated by Shanelle Gray, Winter's adult sister who currently has custody of the 14-year-old actress. A judge temporarily stripped Workman of custody amid allegations she had been physically and emotionally abusive to the star.
A trial on whether Workman will be fully stripped of custody is scheduled to begin Wednesday.
Borlenghi said he had not yet seen the lawsuit and declined to say whether he posted a comment about the story on the Times website. The story centered on Workman's allegations that Winter was having an improper relationship with an 18-year-old actor.
RELATED: BING: Famous custody battles
"This is a total falsehood," the comment attributed to Borlenghi states. "The mother is grasping and clawing to find a way not to lose her money-maker, and hide the fact that she is an abusive monster."
The comment cites personal interactions with Workman for forming the opinions in the post.
Workman's lawsuit includes several pages of sworn declarations from tutors and other friends and associates denying she has been abusive to her daughter. The declarations have been filed in the guardianship case and may be considered by a judge who has to determine whether to allow Gray to continue caring for her sister.
A judge said last month that child protective investigators had evidence of emotional abuse toward Winter.
Workman has denied she has been abusive toward her daughter.
Guardianship cases in California are public record. Attorneys for Winter's sister requested the case and its proceedings be sealed, but a judge refused. The case was filed under Winter's birth name, Ariel Workman, in part to avoid attention.
Although The Associated Press does not generally name underage victims of abuse, Winter's name is being used because it is included in the public guardianship case.
Get out the vote
Get the Duggar dish on Replay hosted by Wonderwall's Kirby Kristen.Watch Video »
Best Beach Bodies
As the temp cools down, heat things back up by checking out the best beach bodies of 2015!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 »
Life With Toast
@TheFatJewish chats life with his Instagram-famous pooch @ToastMeetsWorldWatch Video »
In honor of the 10th anniversary of "Just Friends," check out how the stars of the film have changed.Watch Video »
Fergie, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Heidi Klum all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »