NEW YORK – A judge threw out a $10 million civil assault lawsuit Monday filed against Liza Minnelli by her estranged husband, David Gest, who claimed she beat him so badly during alcoholic rages he had to be hospitalized.
State Supreme Court Justice Jane Solomon granted Minnelli's motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the ground that Gest's doctor had failed to rebut the 60-year-old actress-singer's medical expert, who said Gest's headaches were caused by a strain of herpes that causes shingles and not by beatings.
Gest's lawyer, Lorraine Nadel, said she would appeal the ruling. She said that although Minnelli's physician diagnosed Gest's headaches as being caused by herpes zoster, Gest's doctor said he tested negative for the virus.
"He said it was the beatings," Nadel said Gest's doctor reported.
The 53-year-old Gest, who was in Memphis, Tenn., said through Nadel that he was "shocked" and "stunned" by Solomon's ruling.
Solomon said the only issues remaining in her court are those in which Minnelli claims in a $2 million lawsuit that Gest misappropriated her earnings.
Gest has denied that he wrongfully took money from Minnelli and has said she owes him money because of what he spent trying to revive her career.
Minnelli and Gest were married March 16, 2002, in a star-studded ceremony with Michael Jackson as best man and Elizabeth Taylor as maid of honor. They separated in July 2003 and filed for divorce later that year.
The divorce case is pending before state Supreme Court Judge Harold Beeler. Gest's lawyers have asked Beeler to order a trial to determine the validity of a prenuptial agreement.