Meghan Markle Wins Defamation Lawsuit Brought by Half-Sister Samantha Markle

U.S. District Attorney Judge Charlene Honeywell wrote that Samantha's allegations “suggest” that she “disagrees” with Meghan’s “opinions"

<p>Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty</p> Meghan Markle on Sept. 15, 2023 at the Invictus Games in Duesseldorf, Germany

Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty

Meghan Markle on Sept. 15, 2023 at the Invictus Games in Duesseldorf, Germany

Meghan Markle has obtained a court victory in a defamation case brought forward by her half- sister Samantha Markle.

U.S. District Attorney Judge Charlene Honeywell has dismissed with prejudice the case — in which Samantha, 59, claimed Meghan, 42, defamed her in multiple interviews, including her CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey — in court documents filed Tuesday and obtained by PEOPLE.

The Florida judge said in the filing that the motion to dismiss the case was granted after Samantha failed to produce statements that supported her defamation claim. In the filing, Honeywell wrote that the allegations “suggest” that Samantha “disagrees” with Meghan’s “opinions rather than statements of fact.”

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Meghan’s attorney, Michael J Kump, said: “We are pleased with the court’s ruling dismissing the case.”

Samantha, who is half-sister to Meghan through their father Thomas Markle, will not be able to refile the lawsuit since it was dismissed with prejudice. The author had been seeking $75,000 from the Duchess of Sussex for defamation.

FOX; Karwai Tang/WireImage Samantha Markle; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pictured.
FOX; Karwai Tang/WireImage Samantha Markle; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pictured.

Related: Meghan Markle Wins Bid to Dismiss Defamation Lawsuit Filed by Half-Sister Samantha Markle

Samantha claimed in her original filing that the Duchess of Sussex made defamatory statements during her interview with Winfrey when she said she "grew up as an only child." She said in the documents that she and Meghan "were close during childhood" but drifted after Meghan started dating Prince Harry.

She also claimed that there were defamatory implications made when Meghan said during the interview that Samantha "changed her last name back to Markle" after she began dating Harry, and alleged that she got negative press after saying in a December 2018 interview that their father should have been at Meghan and Harry's royal wedding.

Samantha also took issue with the contents of a chapter titled "A Problem Like Samantha" in the book Finding Freedom, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand in August 2021, which focused on Harry and Meghan's love story and step back from their roles as senior working royals.

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Honeywell determined in a March 2023 ruling that Meghan could not “be held liable for statements in a book that she did not publish" and that telling Oprah she "grew up as an only child" was not falsifiable because it was a protected opinion.

"As a reasonable listener would understand it, [the] Defendant merely expresses an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings. Thus, the Court finds that Defendant's statement is not objectively verifiable or subject to empirical proof," Honeywell wrote at the time.

The judge concluded that Samantha's claims based on Finding Freedom would be "dismissed with prejudice" and that she would be "allowed one final opportunity to replead her claims" related to the Winfrey interview "for injurious falsehood."

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