Streisand to pay opponents legal fees

Barbara Streisand

Special to The Malibu Times

Malibu resident songbird Barbra Streisand was ordered to pay $177,000 to cover the legal fees of her opponent in the recent privacy invasion lawsuit the singer filed regarding a photograph of her Malibu estate that was placed on the Internet.

Streisand was ordered to pay the attorney fees of amateur photographer Kenneth Adelman, in the $10 million lawsuit she filed against him in December. She sued Adelman, founder the California Coastal Records Project, after he placed an aerial picture of her home on his organization’s Web site. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman threw the lawsuit out and requested that Adelman remove the photo. Streisand later filed motions challenging the attorney fees she was ordered to pay. In Friday’s ruling, Goodman ordered the singer to pay exactly $177,107.54 to cover Adelman’s expenses.

“I’m obviously disappointed [with the ruling],” Streisand’s lawyer, John Gatti, said after the judge’s decision this week. “We think it’s a very important case for privacy interests. I think that in time this issue will come up again in other forms and other contexts, but I think the rulings will be different.”

Gatti refused to comment on whether Streisand would appeal the judge’s decision.

Adelman took the picture of her home while photographing the coastline to put on his organization’s Web site, Streisand was upset that Adelman identified her home on his site while all other homes remained anonymous. Goodman ruled that the singer’s privacy was not invaded, and noted that the helicopter used to photograph her home did not hover over her estate with the intention of photographing her.

“The published image [of Streisand’s home] represents the exercise of Adelman’s First Amendment rights in connection with a public issue and an issue of public interest,” Goodman wrote in the December ruling.

Gatti said that the judge ignored Streisand’s main complaint that she was singled out for recognition on the Web site while other homeowners remained unnamed.

“Ms. Streisand undertook this action because she sought to reaffirm that everyone should retain the right to preserve their privacy and security, even in this technologically invasive age,” Gatti said in a Dec. 16 article of The Malibu Times.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press executive director, Lucy Dalglish, agreed with Goodman’s ruling, saying Adelman acted well within his rights. Dalglish said in the Dec. 16 article of The Malibu Times that not only was the photograph of Streisand’s home taken in a public location, but also there is a lower expectation for privacy with public figures.