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Gionis Loses Bid to Reinstate Lawsuit

June 28, 1991|MATT LAIT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — Dr. Thomas A. Gionis, accused of arranging an attack on his ex-wife, Aissa Wayne, lost an appeal to reinstate his libel suit against her attorney.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in an opinion issued Tuesday found that the lower trial court judge was correct in dismissing the suit.

The November, 1989, suit stemmed from Gionis' bitter custody battle with Aissa Wayne--daughter of actor John Wayne--over their daughter, then 2 years old. Gionis had lost custody of Anastasia Pilar Gionis after his arrest on charges of masterminding the attack on Wayne and Roger Luby, her boyfriend at the time.

In his lawsuit, Gionis said that Wayne's attorney, E. Robert Lemkin, defamed him when he was quoted in a magazine saying, "It is not in the child's best interest to spend any extended time with the doctor."

In a 3-0 opinion, the appeals court ruled that "the (lawyer's) statement contains no probably false factual assertion and thus is not actionable defamation."

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