US court reject appeal from Cristiano Ronaldo

A US appeals court rejected a lawyer’s appeal for a woman who tried forcing Cristiano Ronaldo to pay millions more than the $375,000 in hush money he paid her after she accused him of raping her in 2009.

Kathryn Mayorga’s lawyer asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal judge’s dismissal of the case in Las Vegas in June 2022 and reopen the civil lawsuit she filed in 2018.

According to Mail Online, they argued that US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey should not have rejected Mayorga’s attempts to open and make public the confidentiality agreement she signed in 2010 when accepting payments from Ronaldo.

A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based appeals court disagreed. He also rejected the argument that the judge abused her discretion by dismissing the case with prejudice, which prevented Mayorga from reopening the case, and took the unusual step of charging his lawyer, Leslie, a $335,000 (£267,450) fine. Mark Stovall.

“The district court clearly recognized the gravity of dismissing the case and accordingly provided a thorough analysis, amply supported by factual findings,” Judge Johnnie Rawlinson wrote in Tuesday’s six-page opinion.

In closing the case in Nevada, Dorsey sanctioned Stovall for “bad faith,” saying he had improperly tried to use documents that were leaked or stolen in a cyberattack to pursue Mayorga’s case.

Stovall told the 9th Circuit panel during oral arguments in October that Mayorga was not bound by the confidentiality agreement because Ronaldo or his associates violated it before German media outlet Der Spiegel published an article in April 2017 titled ‘Cristiano’s Secret Ronaldo’ based on documents obtained from the ‘Football Leaks reporting portal’.

Las Vegas police reopened a rape investigation after Mayorga’s lawsuit was filed, but Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson decided in 2019 not to pursue criminal charges. He said too much time had passed and the evidence did not show that Mayorga’s accusation could be proven before a jury.

Mayorga, a former teacher and model from the Las Vegas area, was 25 when she met Ronaldo at a nightclub in 2009 and went with him and others to his hotel suite. She alleges in her lawsuit filed nearly a decade after the football star, then 24, sexually assaulted her in a bedroom.

Ronaldo, through his lawyers, stated that the sex was consensual and that the confidentiality agreement reached in 2010 was valid. Stovall acknowledged that Mayorga received $375,000.

Mayorga’s lawsuit alleged conspiracy, defamation, breach of contract, coercion and fraud. When Dorsey dropped the case, Stovall claimed Mayorga should receive more than $25 million (£19.9 million) in damages.

The 9th Circuit’s ruling on Tuesday noted that the 2010 agreement “remained dormant until 2017, when… ‘Football Leaks’ released hundreds of documents through a cyber hack by Ronaldo’s former lawyers.”

“Despite the settlement and confidentiality agreement between Ronaldo and Mayorga, Stovall sought and used ‘Football Leaks’ documents – including those clearly marked as attorney-client privilege – to pursue a new lawsuit on Mayorga’s behalf against Ronaldo,” said the district court.

Judge Dorsey “correctly ruled that Ronaldo did not waive or otherwise forfeit his claim of attorney-client privilege regarding the ‘Football Leaks’ documents,” he said.

The appeals judges specifically rejected Stoval’s argument that Ronaldo failed to adequately safeguard the documents.

“Prior to the breach, your lawyers employed cybersecurity tools to protect your files,” the ruling said. ‘As the district court noted, Ronaldo wrongly adopted the course of ‘navigating this unorthodox situation’ initiated by the ‘unprincipled conduct’ of Mayorga’s lawyer long before, and instituted vigorous efforts to protect the documents afterwards.’

“The district court did not abuse its discretion when it concluded that a sanction to dismiss the case was appropriate,” the decision stated.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *