Judge allows Kandi Burruss' defamation claims against Johnnie Winston III to move forward


This was posted Friday, May 19, 2017 by Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

A U.S. federal district judge Amy Totenberg has cleared Kandi Burruss to pursue defamation counterclaims against Johnnie Winston III , who filed a lawsuit last fall claiming lost wages.

The Jasmine Brand broke the news first . I have procured the May 16 paperwork as well.

Burruss alleged that Winston broke a non-disclosure agreement and defamed her on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" to gain publicity for his own company. Winston also happened to be aided and abetted by attorney Phaedra Parks, who appears to be off the show after making all sorts of crazy rumors about Burruss.  She never represented him but helped him find an attorney Oscar Prioleau Jr. and was filmed doing so.

On the "Real Housewives," Winston alleged that Burruss had taken his idea of opening a restaurant and claimed she had also ripped off his idea for her play "A Mother's Love." She denied she took any ideas from him, that the OLG restaurant that recently opened was based on her family members and so was the play.

In her counterclaim, she wrote:

Mr. Winston’s on-air comments regarding Ms. Burruss-Tucker’s restaurant

business and the play entitled “A Mother’s Love” were made with actual malice as

Mr. Winston was aware his statements were false and/or had a reckless disregard

for their falsity.

She added:

Mr. Winston’s ploy to gain additional publicity by making knowingly false

and malicious accusations regarding Defendants on camera, that were subsequently

broadcast nationally and internationally, are the subject of Defendants’

counterclaims. Mr. Winston’s statements were not only slanderous, defamatory

and calculated to injure Defendants’ public persona and professional brand, but

were also in breach of the Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement signed

by Mr. Winston.

Winston in his lawsuit said he worked for Burruss and her company Kandi Koated Entertainment from mid-2013 through early 2016.  (Details of the lawsuit are here.) He said he requested overtime at least three times and was denied. Burruss in her counterclaim said she had no reason to pay him overtime because he was an independent contractor.

According to the judges' decision, "the Court finds that Defendants’ Motion to Amend satisfies the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendants have demonstrated good cause for adding the counterclaims based on their relatively recent discovery of Plaintiff’s statements on television."

I have reached out to attorneys on both sides but have not heard back.


Reader Comments


Next Up in Radio & TV Talk

'Selena: The Series': Netflix announces new show about Selena Quintanilla
'Selena: The Series': Netflix announces new show about Selena Quintanilla

A new series about slain Tejano icon Selena Quintanilla is heading to Netflix in 2020, the streaming service announced Tuesday. According to a Netflix press release, the scripted drama, produced by Campanario Entertainment, is "a coming-of-age story following Selena as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching and life-changing choices...
Listen: 53 Days Until Super Bowl 53
Listen: 53 Days Until Super Bowl 53

Listen now or open in iTunes or Google Play: There are just 53 days until Super Bowl 53 kicks off at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. And in just a few weeks, we’ll learn which teams will take the field in the new stadium. AJC music reporter and avid football fan Melissa Ruggieri chats about concerts from artists such as Ludacris...
MLS Cup featuring Atlanta United’s win draws best TV ratings since 1997
MLS Cup featuring Atlanta United’s win draws best TV ratings since 1997

The MLS Cup victory by the Atlanta United over Portland on Saturday night drew the biggest TV audience in at least 20 years, according to Nielsen Media Research. The game aired on Fox nationally and brought in 1.56 million overnight viewers. That’s nearly double from the number who watched a year earlier and the most since at least 1997, the...
Some vegetables easily tolerate cold weather
Some vegetables easily tolerate cold weather

Q: My cabbage and lettuce crops are looking great even though we have had colder than normal weather. What range can they stand before being frozen out? Robert Hobgood, Cartersville A: It is tough to predict how cold temperatures will affect vegetables. Much depends on how the plants were preconditioned. For example, if broccoli has been...
How to use winter white for a bright, minimalist look
How to use winter white for a bright, minimalist look

White has long been viewed as a formal color, typically reserved for seldom-used living and sitting rooms. These days, those looking for a light, bright and minimalist look are choosing winter white. Unlike stark, bright white, winter white has cream and taupe properties that can serve as the ideal foundation color for a neutral color palette. If you...
More Stories