Bob Dylan‘s legal team is demanding tens of thousands of dollars in penalties against the lawyers who unsuccessfully accused the singer of sexually abusing a child in 1965, claiming they filed the “heinous” allegations solely to “extract a settlement payment.”
The lawsuit against Dylan included salacious allegations, but historians quickly pointed out that it wasn’t chronologically plausible and the unnamed accuser suddenly dropped the case this summer after Dylan’s lawyers accused her of destroying key evidence.
On Monday, after saying they would pursue penalties against the lawyers who filed it, Dylan’s attorneys made good on the threat. They’re seeking a $50,000 fine, plus repayment of his legal bills – a figure that could easily amount to tens of thousands more, considering the white-shoe law firm Dylan hired.
The star’s attorneys say the case never should have been filed, and that the attorneys who did so — Daniel Isaacs and Peter Gleason — should not be “permitted to get away scot-free.”
“The inescapable conclusion is that Mr. Isaacs and Mr. Gleason never intended to actually litigate this action,” wrote Dylan’s lead counsel Orin Snyder of the firm Gibson Dunn. “Instead, they filed the complaint knowing it would generate worldwide media coverage, which it did, and then spent months trying to leverage that publicity and the threat of embarrassment to extract a settlement payment.”
Dylan’s accuser filed her case in August 2021, claiming he had abused her multiple times at Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel in April and May 1965. She said he provided her with drugs and alcohol and “exploited” his status as part of a plan to “sexually molest her.” But rock historians and Dylan experts quickly cast doubt on the allegations, saying Dylan was likely away from New York City during most of the time in question.
In July, the case devolved into increasing chaos. After Dylan’s lawyers accused Isaacs and Gleason of refusing to comply with court orders to turn over evidence in discovery, a judge implored them to do so “for the love of god” and threatened them with sanctions. Weeks later, Dylan’s team leveled even more serious accusations: That the accuser had deleted key emails and texts that might sink her case.
Faced with those damning accusations, the accuser dropped her case at a July 28 hearing. But that wasn’t the end of the road for the case.
In Monday’s motion for sanctions, Dylan’s team said Isaacs and Gleason subjected the singer to “the most heinous allegations imaginable,” which could have been avoided if the duo had “complied with their most basic obligations” as lawyers: “Counsel filed the Complaint even though the most rudimentary investigation would have revealed the claims to be false.”
They then “engaged in a pattern of deliberate discovery misconduct and violations of this Court’s rules and orders,” Dylan’s lawyers wrote, culminating in the messy end to the lawsuit in July.
In previous filings in the case, Isaacs has rejected those claims and argued that the case was “brought in good faith and with the intent of responsibility litigating the matter.” He blamed the problems on the “recalcitrance” of his client, whom he said refused to hand over key materials “despite my repeated requests.”
“At no point did either Mr. Gleason or I willfully withhold discovery or engage in discovery misconduct,” Isaacs wrote in August. “We attempted to comply as best we could given the circumstances, including plaintiff suffering PTSD, which was exacerbated when her identity was illegally made public following the commencement of this action.”
But on Monday, Dylan’s lawyers said that argument wouldn’t cut it: “Mr. Isaacs and Mr. Gleason are directly responsible for this pattern of serious discovery misconduct, and any effort to blame their client should be rejected.”
In a statement to Billboard on Tuesday, Gleason declined to comment on the specifics of the dispute but said that “plaintiff’s counsel welcomes the opportunity to respond to this motion,” referring to a formal rebuttal that will be filed in court in the weeks ahead. Isaacs did not return a request for comment.