That Claim Won't Fly

For my money, this is the best lawyer-to-lawyer letter of all time, involving, as it does, a millionaire throwing a porn star off a balcony into a swimming pool by – and I quote – "her vagina".

The issue apparently begins when the porn star grabbed the millionaire's shirt and alters her trajectory (something I'm pretty sure all the tutorials for Kerbal Space Program tell you not to do), thus breaking her foot during reentry.

The letter is from the lawyer of the tosser to the letter of the tossee.

I represent Dan Bilzerian and received your letter on behalf of Janice Griffith.

Like your client, the facts of the claim won't, quite, fly.

Maybe your client's theory is that Mr. Bilzerian negligently violated the established standard of reasonable care for one who throws a porn actor off a roof and into a pool during a photo shoot for an adult magazine.

I'll let that one sink in for a moment.

Far be it for me to cast aspersions on the editorial standards of Hustler magazine and "", but I'd say that there's a reasonable chance that the entire event (including the allegation of a broken foot, the initial demand letter, and the response letter) was staged.

Even if it's performance art instead of cinema verite, it made me laugh. Go read the whole thing.

Last 5 posts by Clark


  1. Moebius Street says

    At the risk of being a wet blanket, it's a pet peeve of mine when people misuse the word "vagina" in this way.

    The throwing was not by way of her vagina. If you click through, you can see the placement of the thrower's hand, and it's clear that he's not even in contact with her vagina, which is an *internal* bit of anatomy.

    I believe that what the story should say, more accurately, is "thrown into a swimming pool by her vulva" or, less formally, "by her crotch".

  2. HamOnRye says

    This should be interesting. How does one toss another person by their vagina? It not as if that particular body part provides a convient means for tossing.

  3. says

    That letter was nearly Randazza-esque quality, and the tone perfectly fit the client. Mr. Bilzerian has a lawyer who truly understands his client.

  4. Cat G. says

    Truly, I am impressed by the high editorial standards for the mentioned magazine. I would have gone with the photoshop route myself. I wonder if the magazine had the appropriate insurance in place…

  5. jackn says

    The letter is from the lawyer of the tosser to the letter of the tossee.

    is that the sentence you wanted?

    I want to read it as

    The letter is from the lawyer of the tosser to the lawyer of the tossee.

  6. Parallel says

    For my money, "I have enjoyed our brief correspondence" wins handily over "Govern yourself accordingly."

  7. Christophe says

    So, I'm supposed to be impressed by a letter whose tl;dr is "My client is a big rich important person and your client is a skanky ho"?

  8. Aaron says

    Alright Clark, you left out a lot of facts in your post there. Namely, the one where the porn actress agreed to perform the stunt while being videoed by Hustler. Kinda important to not make Mr Millionaire seem like a douche-bag.

    That last paragraph in the letter is, indeed, amazing.

  9. Tam says

    How can we be sure he didn't throw her by the abdominal cavity? Or the xiphoid process?

  10. Peter Gibbons says

    A scanned version of the actual letter appears on Above the Law right this very minute. Unredacted. Let's just say that I now have even more respect for a certain well-known legal blogger whose name is not Randazza.

  11. Christophe says

    I'll also mention that she has a clear Worker's Compensation claim for the broken foot, and *of course* Hustler has insurance to cover that and *of course* she was being paid as an employee (which she clearly was) rather than an independent contractor. And, *of course*, Hustler put in place all of the appropriate safety measures that are required for dangerous stunts like that.

    If they didn't do anything of those things, I'm sure that the State of California might be interested in it.

  12. Garlicguy says

    Well it is pretty obvious that what he meant to say was "twat". His client threw the porn star by her twat….

  13. jb says

    I would guess the distinction between being thrown by the vagina and by the vulva would be whether the thrower had his fingers inside, bowling-ball style, or outside, shot-put style.

    In any event, given the facts evidenced in the two blog posts linked, I think Mr. Bilzerian is legally in the right. However both literally and metaphorically, he is definitely a tosser.

  14. C. S. P. Schofield says

    Is it just me, or does it strike anyone else that the writer is a tad grumpy?

  15. Kyzer says

    I came to Popehat for The Prenda, and I stick around for posts like this one. Classic!

  16. Sami says

    Less grumpy, to me, more self-important and sniggering about it. It's entertainingly snarky but that entertainment value is somewhat diminished by how obviously both he and his client are douchebags.

    Everyone involved in that event is also clearly kind of a moron. There's a reason why stunt work is for professionals. The girl shouldn't have grabbed his shirt, but sometimes instincts overrule logic when people haven't, say, trained properly to be able to face with equanimity being thrown off a balcony while naked and being groped by a sleazy douchebag.

    People freeze up jumping from that height of their own volition from diving boards, yet somehow I suspect they didn't go through a process of having her practise jumping from the balcony into the water a few times until she was used to it before they tried this idiot stunt…

  17. J.R. Ford says

    parellel said:

    For my money, "I have enjoyed our brief correspondence" wins handily over "Govern yourself accordingly."

    I agree. Best sentence in the letter when taken in context with the previous paragraph.

  18. Taliesyn says

    I have to agree with Kyzer. I came here for Prenda; I stayed for things like this!

  19. Ken Mencher says

    Truly entertaining…I can't wait for the lawsuits to fly…this could require a whole new batch of popcorn…

  20. Harry Lime says

    Wait. Is the attorney of the letter the same Tom Goldstein who runs SCOTUSBlog? If so, that kind of surprises me. In what world, did those two guys connect?

    (Not that I mind the letter; I think it's funny and I appreciate when someone actually says F you to a demand letter.)

  21. ellomdian says

    That letter is AMAZING. Almost beats Mr. Wright, but Star Trek > Blowing up a small dog with a mortar.

  22. Derailleur says

    Christophe, California OSHA specifically exempts actors from a lot of the workplace safety regulations – otherwise almost all stunts would have to be performed with fall protection equipment. That said, the rest of your point is very correct. Actors in CA and most U.S. states are clearly employees, with all that entails (e.g. workers' comp insurance).

  23. says

    A stupid letter. It accomplishes nothing, as I can't imagine it will convince the plaintiff's lawyer to back down. Moreover, what the letter writer says about the defendant's willingness to settle is irrelevant, as the suit is almost certain to be tendered to the defendant's insurer.

    Moreover, the letter violates the rule all good trial lawyers should know, that you should always keep your words soft and tender because sometimes you have to eat them.

  24. says

    @Roscoe – it could very well encourage her to go after Hustler instead of Bilzerian, which would at the very least save him the expense and headache of going to court. No idea if they practiced the stunt at all, but in general she would have a much stronger case against the employer instead of the coworker.

  25. says

    Warren – Presuming this is in California (can it happen anywhere else?) there are arcane rules that make it sensible to join both defendants. From what has been reported it appears the girl has a pretty good liability case against Bilzerian. And if all it took to keep a PI lawyer from bringing a case was a letter (albeit a well written one) slinging out some random threats and insults combined with a promise never to settle there would be a lot more of them written.

    One more thing. The Judge is going to hate this letter, and if I was plaintiff's lawyer I would attach it to just about everything I file. I suspect that Bilzerian's local counsel is going to regret it was ever written.

  26. Anbesolrox says

    Haha! I have met Dan Bilzerian. He did not strike me as the sharpest guy around. I would not be surprised if this is all true. I have heard him brag about doing dumber/more weird things than this. I guess that's what happens when you're father is a millionaire and you have no accountability.

  27. Jamie says

    Perhaps a silly thing, given the overall content, but can a lawyer say something like, "if my life depended on it, I cannot say what phrase is tattooed on her left breast"?

    I suppose arguing that he has not seen her left breast in person might be enough to pass a giggle test, but that calls in to question his assertions about the twitter feed.

  28. anne mouse says


    He implies that something is tattooed on her left breast, so perhaps he has seen (at least one image of) her left breast but not studied it sufficiently for memorization.

    My first reaction to your question was, "of course a lawyer could say that, though few other professionals could. Law school includes intensive training that gives lawyers a superhuman ability to disregard the rules of grammar."

  29. Kratoklastes says

    The last few lines of the full letter are absolutely fucking epic – if the letter is genuine, the world is significantly more awesome than I thought it was. Autrement dit: it's about fucking time that lawyers started getting absolutely snarky as fuck in their written correspondence, and started to shed the false gravitas that has been erected around their profession.

    Even more better would be for someone to say in oral argument in front of the SCOTUS: "Scalia, you fat retard – you're a guy who routinely fastens a torture device to your thigh and self-flagellates in order to propitiate a hateful racist sky monster, you Opus Dei fucktard. Why should anybody ever listen to you? If your opinions were worth hearing, you could express them while wearing shorts and a t-shirt instead of those 'Let's dress a little like it's the 17th century to fake us some gravitas' robes."

  30. Scote says

    A couple of things seem likely to me based on speculation:

    1) The woman was paid as a contractor with language specifically saying she was not an employee.
    2) She signed a liability release form with Hustler.
    3) If she did break her foot, it could easily cost an under-insured person tens of thousands of dollars to treat at an ER.

    Perhaps she doesn't have a case based on the factors the lawyer mentioned, but I'm guessing that Mr. Bilzerian *doesn't* have a liability release from her. Don't know what that means for the case, though.