Andrés Martinez sues ex-girlfriend over Grazergate *

MartinezMullensWhoa, this needs some background. Martinez is the former editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times who resigned last year over the brouhaha that resulted from his offer to let producer Brian Grazer guest-edit the Sunday Opinion section one week. The controversy erupted because Martinez's girlfriend at the time, PR executive Kelly Mullens, had a role in Grazer's representation. Today Martinez sued Mullens, saying she crossed a line. Matthew Belloni of The Hollywood Reporter has just posted on the trade's THR, Esq. blog. * Plot thickens: Mullens' lawyer says the suit is backlash over a restraining order obtained by Mullens earlier this year. See next post.

Here's the summary from today's court filing sent to me by a non-THR source (a lawyer who gets court filings):

Negligence; promissory estoppel. Former Los Angeles Times editor recruited producer Brian Grazer as a guest editor of the Sunday Current section of the Times. Defendant, his then-girlfriend, agreed not to become involved in promoting the guest editorship even though the company she worked for, 42 West, LLC, had been retained to do public relations for Grazer's film, "American Gangster." Mullens, however, did become involved in promoting Grazer's guest editorship. This eventually led to an investigation and plaintiff's constructive termination from the Times. Martinez claims he reasonably relied on Mullens' promises by proceeding with the Grazer project rather than finding someone else to be a guest editor.

I haven't read the whole thing, but here's a PDF of the suit. Martinez claims his reputation suffered "great and irreparable harm" due to Mullens' actions, though he blogged at the time that Mullens "did nothing wrong." (LA Observed is mentioned in the suit in passing.) This Grazergate incident, as I termed it at the time, led to A LOT of uproar at the Times and embarrassment for the paper. Martinez resigned with a big angry blog post when Publisher David Hiller killed the section. That set off a chain of events leading to Jim Newton leaving the newsroom to become editorial page editor, and eventually to Newton recently departing the paper. Martinez's side alleged at the time — that was all in March 2007 — that the dispute was part of a power play between the newsroom, in the form of editor Jim O'Shea and others, and the opinion section. O'Shea pooh-poohed that claim. Now Martinez appears to blame it on his ex-girlfriend — and he seeks unspecified damages.

Previously on LA Observed:
Hiller buys time on Grazergate
Showdown at LAT Corral
What Grazer would have said
Martinez's parting shots
O'Shea responds

Edited post

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