Howard K. Stern Drops One Lawsuit, Files Another - NBC4 Washington

Howard K. Stern Drops One Lawsuit, Files Another

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    ** FILE ** In this Oct. 2, 2000 file photo, Anna Nicole Smith, right, smiles as she walks to the courthouse with her attorney Howard K. Stern in Houston. (AP Photo/Brett Cooomer-File)

    Anna Nicole Smith's longtime companion and personal  attorney dropped his defamation lawsuit against the former bodyguard for Larry  Birkhead, but is seeking punitive damages from an actress, his attorney told a  judge Thursday.

    In a lawsuit filed last Sept. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court, attorney  Howard K. Stern alleged that bodyguard Mark Speer and actress Jackie Hatten  concocted lies -- including that he encouraged Smith's drug use -- and told  them to former MSNBC broadcaster Rita Cosby for a 2007 tell-all book about Smith called "Blonde Ambition."

    Stern dropped the part of his case against Speer earlier this month. However, his attorney, David N. Tarlow, told Judge Mary H. Strobel Thursday that his client will be asking for punitive damages in a default proceeding against  Hatten.

    Strobel gave Tarlow until Sept. 28 to file papers in support of his  motion regarding Hatten, who has not responded to the lawsuit.

    Hatten is the sister of another of Smith's former boyfriends, Mark Hatten.

    Smith, a former Playboy Playmate, died Feb. 8, 2007, in Hollywood, Fla.,  of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs at age 39. Stern was  appointed executor of her estate in June 2007.

    Birkhead is the father of Smith's daughter Dannielynn. The former  photographer engaged in a pitched legal battle with Stern over the child's  paternity until DNA proved Birkhead's claim.

    In February, Stern, along with Smith's psychiatrist, Dr. Khristine  Eroshevich, and Dr. Sandeep Kapoor were charged with conspiracy for allegedly  providing Smith with excessive amounts of drugs, even though she was a known  addict.

    Stern, 40, asserted the allegations made against him in Cosby's book  were untrue.

    Cosby is also being sued for claiming Stern and Birkhead were gay  lovers, which both men have denied.