Virginia L. Giuffre v. Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Emily D. Baker
On August 9, 2021, Virginia Giuffre sued Prince Andrew Duke of York for two causes of action, Battery and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress in the Southern District of New York. The civil lawsuit causes of action emanate from Virginia Giuffre being trafficked by Jeffery Epstein. Giuffre alleges in her suit that Epstein trafficked her to Prince Andrew who knew or should have known she was a victim of human trafficking.
A Bit of Background
In a December 2014 court filing, Giuffre describes being trafficked by Jeffery Epstein to Prince Andrew for sex on at least three occasions. She subsequently sued Epstein co-conspirator and now convicted trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell in 2015 for Defamation. For more on the Maxwell prosecution and post-conviction motions check out my coverage here Ghislaine Maxwell – YouTube. In October 2019 Giuffre gave an interview to the BBC and makes allegations that she was trafficked to Prince Andrew. It’s still curious to me, even though it was filmed before Giuffre’s interview aired in December 2019 after Prince Andrew’s BBC interview. Prince Andrew’s interview was a disastrous attempt to distance himself from Giuffre’s allegations and his relationship with Epstein.
The Case So Far
The Complaint filed on August 9, 2021, alleges two causes of action; Battery and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. The Battery cause of action is alleged based on sexual assault stating that “on multiple occasions, Prince Andrew intentionally touched Plaintiff [Guiffre] in an offensive and sexual manner without her consent.” The Intentional Inflection of Emotional Distress cause of action alleges that the Emotional Distress is caused by the “sexual abuse of a child who he [Prince Andrew] knew was a sex-trafficking victim, and when he was approximately 40 years old, goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is intolerable in a civilized community”.
On October 29, 2021, Prince Andrew filed a lengthy Motion to Dismiss asking the court to find that this case cannot move forward in part because of the agreement Giuffre entered into with Epstein. The 2009 agreement prevents Guiffre from further pursuing Epstein and certain others in relation to the trafficking after a monetary settlement and an agreement not to further pursue criminal prosecution. Prince Andrew’s lawyers argue that this agreement applies to Prince Andrew and blocks Giuffre from binging the civil suit against him. After a response from Guiffre, the court denied the Motion to Dismiss. In a detailed ruling. Even though this ruling is fairly standard it seems to have triggered a large response from The Queen who stripped Prince Andrew of his titles, and he will no longer be able to call himself HRH. This suit has a long way to go and the challenges from Prince Andrew are far from over, but this early litigation gave us some clear indication of how the defense will be attacking this suit. A full breakdown of the court’s ruling is here.
On January 26, 2022, Prince Andrew filed his answer to the complaint asserting his denials and affirmative defenses. It’s a fairly standard response where we see Prince Andrew again raising issues of Jurisdiction given that Virginia Giuffre now resides in Australia.
What Comes Next?
This case has moved forward to discovery, the process of gathering evidence from the other side. That can include turning over documents, photos, answering questions under oath, and sitting for depositions. On February 8, 2022, the court asked for a joint written discovery status report by March 7, 2022. Media outlets are reporting that depositions have been scheduled for both Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre which is a regular and necessary part of civil litigation.
A Big Update – Case Settlement!!
On February 15, 2022, Virginia Giuffre’s attorney David Bois filed a notice of settlement with the court stating that “[w]e write jointly … to advise the Court that the parties reached a settlement.” Bois notifies the court that it’s anticipated that a stipulation to dismiss the case will be filed in the next 30 days. Further, the statement details that the out-of-court settlement is for an undisclosed sum and a “substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights”. The notice goes on to state that;
“It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years. Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others. He pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims”. Document 78-1
Based on what was filed in court it seems this is a sizable settlement, my estimate would be in the multi-millions, but we won’t know that. It also seems that there won’t be any further statement or admission of his part in this by Prince Andrew, which is a surprise because in a statement to the BBC Newsnight in January attorney David Bois stated that she was not just interested in a purely financial settlement. Saying that it is important that the matter is “resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims.” Further stating that “What’s going to be important is that this resolution vindicates her and vindicates the claim she’s made.” Boies stated there have been no settlement discussions so far but said that “a purely financial settlement is not anything that I think she is interested in.” This statement just a month ago indicates to me that the denial of the Motion to Dismiss in January was a substantial factor, in this case, moving toward settlement.
Now the case is settled, what comes next?
The notice of settlement is a strong indication that this case will be dismissed within 30 days, but it isn’t over until it’s over. I will keep you updated when the dismissal is official.
Videos from the Case
Lawyer Reacts | The Prince Andrew Lawsuit (Jan 10, 2022)
Lawyer Reacts | Prince Andrew Answers Virginia Giuffre Lawsuit & a new litigant (Feb 10, 2022)
LAST UPDATED: February 16, 2022
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