We mentioned L’Affaire Tiger Woods in Morning Docket (first three links), but since it was the big story of the long holiday weekend, we thought we’d revisit it in more detail. This story has a number of interesting legal angles.
The most thorough coverage appears over at TMZ. Check out these posts, which thrown together could make for quite the law school exam hypothetical (we’ve included study questions with each one):
- Cops Pursue Warrant in Woods Case: According to TMZ, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) may be “obtaining a search warrant — allowing them to seize medical records from the hospital that treated Tiger Woods — in an attempt to determine if the wounds Woods sustained are consistent with a car accident or domestic violence” (allegedly perpetrated against Woods by his wife).
Is there probable cause?
More links and questions appear below.
- Tiger Slams Door on Cops — Again: Over the weekend, the FHP made numerous attempts to interview Tiger Woods, but they were rebuffed each time. Woods’s lawyer, Mark Nejame — read more about him here — did provide troopers with the star golfer’s driver’s license information, registration, and current proof of insurance, as required by Florida law. But neither Woods nor his wife, Elin Nordegren, submitted to an interview with the police.
To what extent can Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren be compelled to discuss the accident and events leading up to it? What privileges might apply?
- Tiger Saga — Six Degrees of Gloria Allred: The ubiquitous lawyer now has a role in the Tiger Woods matter. On Saturday, TMZ reported that Rachel Uchitel, fingered by the National Enquirer as the Other Woman in the Tiger Woods mess, has retained celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, for a possible defamation lawsuit against the National Enquirer. (Apparently Uchitel also reached out to another lawyer to the stars, Mark Geragos, but Uchitel had already hired Allred by the time that Geragos got back to her.)
(By the way, we like TMZ’s title for an earlier post about Uchitel’s denial of an affair: Tiger’s Alleged Mistress: I Never Saw His Putter.)
As reported in People, Uchitel is claiming that the reports of an affair came from “two people that claimed they were friends of mine, but they’re not.” If the Enquirer based its coverage on these two sources, was that sufficient diligence on their part?
The applicable legal standard may turn on whether Rachel Uchitel is a public figure. It certainly seems that Uchitel, a nightclub manager, maintains a high profile. From People:
[Sources say Uchitel has] claimed flings not only with Woods but with actor David Boreanaz, and that her mother has told friends her daughter has dated New York Yankee players Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
“She is a fun party girl; she was definitely into celebrities,” a source tells PEOPLE. “She’s into being around famous people. Her job was to rack up VIP clientele. She is a flirtatious girl.”
To what extent is Rachel Uchitel a public figure — involuntary (or not), for a limited purpose (or not), etc.?
What are some possible arguments that the Enquirer can deploy to defend itself in a possible defamation lawsuit?
Collected coverage of Tiger Woods [TMZ.com]
Reputed ‘Other Woman’ Denies Affair with Tiger Woods [People]
Tiger Woods’ Lawyer Mark NeJame: Who Is He? [Business Insider]
Statement from Tiger Woods [TigerWoods.com]