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Courtney Love, Professional Defendant: Breaking Down 5 Recent Legal Snafus

Courtney Love / Photo by Getty Images

Did you know that over 625,000 civil cases are filed in New York City Small Claims Court every year? While it’s likely that Courtney Love is responsible for roughly 400,000 of those, it’s also just as likely that at least 100,000 of them are those filed against the Muppet-hating Hole frontwoman. Yesterday afternoon, her former administrative assistant Jessica LaBrie joined the long line, most recently populated by her allegedly defamed lawyers, to sue Love, this time for wrongful termination, wage dispute, and breach of contract.

As the AP reports, LaBrie claims that her year spent from 2010 to 2011 working for Love was ended abruptly after she complained “she was owed thousands in unpaid wages and expenses for business trips” and that she “suffered from headaches, insomnia and other medical conditions as a result of Love’s conduct.” What conduct, you ask? Aside from the whole accusing the nicest dude in rock of creeping on her daughter thing, LaBrie’s suit alleges Love tried to get her to hire a hacker “to change records to businesses she owned or believe she owned.” As TMZ slyly almost points out, the suit may have something to do with keeping the spotlight on LaBrie’s tell-all memoir pitch that she started shopping around earlier this year. The AP has since reported that Love’s publicist has issued a statement calling the claims “completely unfounded” and “being made with malice by a disgruntled former employee.”

Considering the dubiousness of LaBrie’s particular case, allow SPIN to illuminate five of the more admissible suits Courtney Love has faced since LaBrie began working for her. (We included the first suit, which was technically filed a year prior, because it was settled in 2011.)

  1. March 2009: Love becomes the first person to be sued for Twitter defamation, thanks to Austin, TX-based designer Dawn Simorangkir, a.k.a. Boudoir Queen, who files her suit after Love went on a Twitter rant on her since-deleted@CourtneyLove79 account, over disagreements the pair had over a $4,000 payment for clothing. She tweeted that Simorangkir was an “as swipe nasty lying nosebag thief,” but in court, claims that the designer can’t prove that the comments have damaged her business. Love’s lawyers eventually disagree with her, and in March 2011, she begins handing over payments that will end up totaling $430,000 by the end of 2014.
  2. January 2010: American Express sues Love for the $352,059.67 she failed to pay off on various credit cards; she countersues them for poor business practices, claiming that 104 cards had been issued in her name and she hadn’t made a single purchase with any of them. Love files court documents, but none of them contain proof that said 104 accounts existed; Amex’s own documents identify only three in her name, and between the three, they contained all of the outstanding balances. The case was permanently dismissed in February 2011, and the parties settled out of court under unreported terms.
  3. April 2010: Billy Corgan accuses Love of using songs he wrote on Hole’s Nobody’s Daughter. A handful of some pretty bitter, passive-aggressive online shade-throwing later, Love owns up to it and apologizes via Facebook, writing, “I hope you will take my sincerest apologies for all the thousand ways I sometimes offend you, because I know you are a king, a prince, and my beautiful noble boy,” and somehow avoiding a lawsuit altogether: Corgan never filed one (though considering the vehemence and vagueness of her apology, he probably could’ve had quite an admissible case on his hands).
  4. September 2010: The jeweler Jacobson & Co. sues Love for $114,000 accessories she borrowed to wear at a benefit event and never returned. The case is ruled in the jeweler’s favor in October 2011, but it’s unclear as to whether she is required to pay the company the full worth of the jewelry (her exact payment might have been less).
  5. February 2012: An ex-soldier in Love’s army of lawyers, Rhonda Holmes, files the singer’s second Twitter defamation suit, alleging that Love’s June 2010 tweets, including one that reads, “I was fucking devestated [sic] when Rhonda J Holmes esq of San Diego was bought off. I’ve been hiring and firing lawyers to help me with this.” In May of this year, Holmes subpoenas Love’s daughter Frances Bean Cobain to testify in the case, possibly to clarify in a deposition what she meant when she released a statement claiming “Twitter should ban [her] mother” (it was actually in response to claims Love made that ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl had hit on her). Cobain’s lawyers attest that she had no knowledge of the libel suit before doing so, and as of last month, have asked a judge for a protective order against the subpoena. The suit is currently ongoing, but considering how the last Twitter suit went, things aren’t looking great for Love’s finances.