In the wake of a failed lawsuit that claimed Bob Dylan sexually abused a child in 1965, the singer’s legal team is now demanding serious penalties against the lawyers who filed it – citing “brazen” misconduct in a case that they “should not have brought.”
The suit, filed last year by an unnamed woman, included salacious allegations against the iconic singer, but historians said it wasn’t chronologically plausible and the accuser suddenly dropped the case last month after Dylan’s lawyers said she had destroyed key evidence.
Now, Dylan’s attorneys are out for blood – demanding “real consequences” for attorneys Daniel Isaacs and Peter Gleason over their “systematic discovery violations” while handling the case.
“Mr. Isaacs and Mr. Gleason should not have brought this action — accusing defendant of a heinous crime — if they did not intend to responsibly litigate it,” wrote Dylan’s lead attorney Orin Snyder in an Aug. 4 letter to the judge. “It is more than appropriate to hold them accountable.”
It’s unclear how much money Dylan’s lawyers are seeking. One common form of so-called sanctions would be forcing Isaacs and Gleason to repay the money Dylan spent litigating the case – potentially tens of thousands of dollars when top-flight law firms are hired.
On Monday, the federal judge overseeing the case ordered a formal briefing on whether sanctions are necessary. Neither Isaacs nor Gleason immediately returned requests for comment.
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.
Last month’s abrupt dismissal came amid increasing chaos in the case, starting with claims that the woman’s attorneys were refusing to comply with court orders to turn over evidence in discovery, and culminating in bombshell accusations from Dylan’s camp that she had deleted key text messages and emails.
At the time, Dylan’s lawyers called the case a “lawyer-driven sham” and said it was “outrageous that it was ever brought in the first place.” Now they seem intent on proving that.
“This is a paradigm case for sanctions to address counsel’s brazen discovery misconduct,” Snyder wrote in a letter to the judge, asking for monetary penalties against Isaacs and Gleason. “Counsel flouted their discovery obligations for months and ignored warnings from the Court about their failure to produce documents.”
In a response filed Tuesday (Aug. 9), Isaacs said 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. “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.”
That answer likely won’t be good enough for Dylan’s attorneys. In their filing last week, they argued that the materials in question were documents that the accuser’s lawyers “should have possessed and reviewed before ever bringing this lawsuit in the first place.”
“Many of the documents we have seen, including scores of emails between plaintiff and key third parties whom counsel apparently never even bothered to interview, undermine and contradict plaintiff’s allegations,” Snyder wrote.