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No Foundation to Cosmetics Lawsuit, Actress Stevens Says

THE COURT FILES / ANN W. O'NEILL

January 11, 1998|ANN W. O'NEILL

lin, better known as the plastic surgeon to the stars, to testify during an inquiry by the Medical Board of California into allegations that the surgeon fondled and ridiculed sedated celebrity patients.

Hoefflin, also known as "Doc Hollywood" because his patients have included Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller, has vehemently denied the charges. He says he is the victim of a smear campaign by two former associates, whom he is suing for slander, and other disgruntled former employees.

Judge Ronald Sohigian ordered the four former staffers to testify before the medical board or face being held in contempt of court. The women--operating room assistants Kim Moore-Mestas and Lidia Benjamin and office workers Barbara Maywood and Donna Burton--had been reluctant to testify because they feared violating a confidentiality clause of a 1996 settlement, according to their attorney, Richard Garrigues. The settlement resolved a sexual harassment suit they brought against Hoefflin but immediately withdrew. Hoefflin said in a statement that the women signed a letter of apology saying the lawsuit was filed by mistake "without sufficient fact or legal basis."

Medical board inquiries are typically confidential until the board makes a finding.

MAKE LOVE NOT LAW: A jury in Los Angeles Superior Court has returned a verdict in favor of a former call girl who wrote the kiss-and-sell tome "You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again."

Liza Greer, who co-wrote the best-selling book, sued Dove Entertainment over a royalty dispute. She contended that she was forced to sign an additional clause to her contract that cut her share of the royalties from the standard 10% to a paltry 2.5%.

Last month, a jury agreed that Dove had exerted undue influence on Greer by refusing to give her time to review the legal papers or discuss them with her lawyer.

Greer and Dove return to court in two weeks for a hearing at which damages will be discussed. Her lawyer, Richard M. Rosenthal, said the difference between 2.5% and 10% of the royalties approaches $100,000, including interest.

ROCKY'S REBUTTAL: Sylvester Stallone doesn't really litigate with dead people, his lawyer says. It just looked that way because the court clerk's office in Santa Monica apparently misfiled the actor's request to dismiss a lawsuit.

Stallone brought the suit in April in Santa Monica Superior Court against Gianni Versace--several months before the fashion designer was shot to death July 14 outside his mansion in Miami Beach. The suit involved Versace's allegedly unauthorized use of a fashion photo featuring the "Rocky" star with model Claudia Schiffer.

According to court records, the lawsuit was served about two weeks before Versace was gunned down.

But the public court file did not reveal that Stallone asked the court to dismiss his lawsuit in September--about two months after Versace's death.

The motion provided by Stallone's lawyer, Marty Singer, is dated Sept. 2 and bears a court seal dated Sept. 5, but is not signed by a court official.

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