Comedienne Joan Rivers sued for defamation by former manager

The former personal manager of US comedienne Joan Rivers, 77, is reportedly suing her for $2 million (£1.34 million) over claims she defamed him in a recent documentary, as well as filing a lawsuit over unpaid fees.

The dispute centres on the documentary “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” in which Mr Sammeth claims she said he had “disappeared” when in truth, she had sacked him.

The comedienne’s former manager is also claiming that she owes him money following the termination of his employment. In addition to the $2 million in damages for defamation, Mr Sammeth is seeking 10 per cent of the fees for a number of Ms Rivers’ recent jobs. This adds up to $200,000 (£134,000) for her legal team and professional insurance company (if she has a policy) to deal with.

He has said that her career was “dormant” until he signed on as her personal manager in 2002, taking her from 12 performances and year to around 40 in 2009, the year he was sacked. He also claims he helped her to win Celebrity Apprentice, the US reality programme, in 2009.

Joan Rivers has strenuously denied Mr Sammeth’s allegations, saying:

“Billy Sammeth is now making claims for money to which he is not entitled and I am confident that the judicial system will dispose of his lawsuit in the appropriate manner.”

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