Johnny Depp’s battle against Amber Heard may be ending sooner than expected, but not in a way he’d like. After his defeat in the British High Court last year, his legal team immediately announced plans to appeal. But not too long ago, that application was denied by the UK Court of Appeal, who ruled that the judgment was “full and fair” and that it couldn’t “even arguably” be appealed.
For Depp, London has been a bruising defeat, though it’s one battle in an ongoing war. The next clash is set to come in Virginia in mid-2022, where he’s suing Heard for $50M over a Washington Post op-ed she wrote about her experience as a victim of domestic violence. In response, she filed a $100 million counterclaim, also alleging defamation and that Johnny was responsible for a social media effort to tarnish her career by getting her booted off Aquaman 2.
Now, Heard’s team is arguing that Depp’s case should be thrown out as the facts have already been proved in the UK. Her lawyers have entered a plea that says:
“Giving full effect to the UK Judgments necessitates a finding that statements in the op-ed published in the Washington Post are true – Mr. Depp committed domestic violence against Ms. Heard on many occasions, causing her to fear for her life. … Therefore, as a matter of law, Depp cannot prevail on any of his claims, and Depp’s Complaint against Ms. Heard should be dismissed in its entirety.”
This application succeeding is something of a long shot, but it’s worth a try. However, I suspect that the differences in UK and domestic libel law will mean that they may want to reconsider the case as the two countries have different standards for what constitutes defamation. One wrinkle that may work in Heard’s favor is that it’s substantially easier to prove defamation in London as the burden of proof is on the defendant, whereas in the US it’s on the plaintiff.
Regardless of what happens with Amber Heard‘s application, I fully expect this saga to continue on for at least a little bit longer. Both stars are well funded and their teams of lawyers are making some serious money out of this. Even so, it remains to be seen how long Depp can continue to lose high profile cases before he hits financial difficulty.