Ever since Carole Baskin began appearing on Dancing With the Stars, the family of her missing ex-husband has been hounding her. Not only did they air a commercial during the show accusing Baskin of being complicit in his disappearance, but they also filed a defamation lawsuit against the Netflix reality star. Big cat rescue queen Baskin is now fighting back in the court, hoping to gain some freedom from her ex’s dogged family. 

What Are the Facts of the Lawsuit?

CELEB explored the lawsuit immediately after it was filed; “Lewis’s daughters Gale, Lynda, Donna, and former assistant Anne McQueen have sued Baskin for defamation of character. They claim Baskin was ‘complicit’ with jokes made by the judges on DWTS during Baskin’s most recent appearance. 

According to TMZ, ‘In the docs, Don’s former assistant says Carole should have spoken out against the jokes … and she also says Carole should have put her foot down when a ‘DWTS’ judge said she ‘didn’t quite kill the paso double, it was kind of sedated.’ Anne takes umbrage with the use of ‘kill’ and ‘sedated.’

Don’s family is not only accusing Carole of being complicit with the Don quips on ‘DWTS,’ but also going along with the joke in an interview with ‘Good Morning America’ when she promised to ‘really kill it next week’ … according to the suit.'”

Baskin Responded To the Lawsuit

Carole Baskin with Tiger

As soon as the lawsuit was filed, CELEB reached out to Baskin for comment. In response, Baskin said, “I do not joke about the loss of my late husband Don Lewis. It’s a stretch for anyone to say that because I use the common phrase of, ‘killing it,’ that it refers to Don since I believe he crashed an experimental plane over the gulf due to his own failing mental capacity. I didn’t kill him or have him killed, so there’s no way I’d associate losing him with that word or concept.

I was the only person in his life trying to get him to a medical specialist after he’d been diagnosed as bi-polar with Altered Mental Status (which includes dementia) just 2 months before he went missing. According to Don, Anne McQueen and Wendell Williams were telling him that I was trying to have him committed and I believe it was because they were profiting off his diminished capacity. That made it impossible for me to get him the help he needed in time.’

The statement continues, ‘Any Tiger King reference to killing or murder is strictly based on the fact that so many animal abusers have tried unsuccessfully to kill me either by rallying their minions or hiring hit men. I’ve turned down scores of Cameo requests from people who wanted me to say something unkind about Don and always send this same text message to the requestor: ‘The tragic loss of my husband is not something I joke about. I would like to help you with your request so could you cancel this one and perhaps request something that does not ask me to make light of a situation that brought so much sadness to me and our families?’

People can’t even pay me to joke about the tragic loss of my husband and best friend at the time. Evidence is at BigCatRescue.org/netflix of his diagnosis.

I’ve dealt with bullies trying to silence me for decades, so I don’t take it personally.

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue.”

New Court Filing Has Baskin Hitting Back 

Carole Baskin Big Cat Rescue

There’s been an update in Baskin’s court case as her lawyer on Wednesday filed a motion to strike and extension. In an e-mail response requesting information about an update to Baskin’s case, Baskin responded to CELEB, “I cannot comment on our pending litigation, but the pleadings speak for themselves. See the filing in the Lewis family VS Carole Baskin case…” 

In the PDF file containing the case update, Baskin’s lawyer looks to have the case dismissed due to improper filing on the part of the Lewis family’s lawyers. According to the file, the Lewis family’s lawyers requested permission from Baskin’s lawyer to amend their complaint. While Baskin’s lawyer extended the professional courtesy of agreeing to the amendment, the Lewis family’s lawyer did not receive approval from the court itself. 

Therefore the amendment was improperly filed. The filing reads, “Because Plaintiffs failed to seek leave to amend, their Amended Complaint is a sham pleading as contemplated by Rule 1.150, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 1.150 provides that “[i]f a party deems any pleading or part thereof filed by another party to be a sham, that party may move to strike the pleading or part thereof before the cause is set for trial and the court shall hear the motion…

In circumstances where leave of court is required, when a party fails to seek such leave before filing an amended pleading, the appropriate remedy is to strike it.

…Here, Plaintiffs were required to seek leave of court, knew that leave was required and intentionally decided the Rules do not apply them. As such, their Amended Complaint is a sham and should be stricken.1 WHEREFORE, Baskin prays this Honorable Court strike Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint, grant her request for an extension of time until the earlier of 10 days after either the Court rules on this Motion or Plaintiffs properly file their Amended Complaint, and grant such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.”

What Does This Mean for Baskin?

If the judge agrees that the improper filing invalidates the complaint, the case against Baskin could be stricken from the court. This would be the best ending for Baskin, who hopes to put the entire incident behind her. Now that the Tiger King star has been eliminated from DWTS, it’s time to return to her Big Cat Rescue in Florida and try to recover from a new stint in the limelight. 

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