A U.S. federal judge on Thursday dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed against Bill Cosby by a Pennsylvania woman, media reports said. Renita Hill, one of the more than 50 women who have publicly accused Cosby of sexual assault, filed the lawsuit in October 2015, alleging that the comedian and his lawyer defamed her in the media.
The court on Thursday rejected Hill’s lawsuit saying that “allowing plaintiff time to amend her complaint would be futile.” Judge Arthur J. Schwab also reportedly dismissed the three claims against the 78-year-old, and ruled that the statements "do not support a claim for defamation as defined by Pennsylvania law."
Hill, a Pittsburgh resident, alleged Cosby drugged and molested her for years, starting when she was 16, when she worked with him on a children's TV show “Picture Pages.”
“We disagree with and are disappointed with the judge’s ruling,” Hill’s lawyer George Kontos told The Wrap. “We intend to file an appeal. We are hopeful that the ruling will be overturned, and that Renita will have her day in court.”
However, Cosby's attorneys welcomed the judge's decision in a statement and said they hoped it would influence the outcome of other pending lawsuits against the comedian.
"The Court found opinionated speech by a defendant's attorney is protected and not actionable as defamatory," the attorneys said, according to Reuters. "It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions with similar matters will respond in like manner."
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles District Attorney said it will not pursue sexual assault charges against Cosby as the two cases — for alleged assaults that occurred in 1965 and 2008 — were blocked by the statute of limitations or lacked evidence. The news came just days after the comedian was arraigned in Pennsylvania's Montgomery County District Court on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2004 case, and later released on a $1 million bail.