Dance Moms Defamation: A Look At The Case That Could Have Been

Oh lo, fellow celebrity defamation enthusiasts! The legal gods have spoken, and the Dance Moms defamation trial is a no-go. A judge ruled that Kelly Hyland’s slander claims against bedraggled TV Dance Coach Abby Lee Miller are meritless. (But! Hyland’s breach of contract charge against the Dance Moms production company is headed to trial.)

Dance Moms Defamation: A Look Back, In Color

Despite Dance Mom Kelly Hyland’s slander claims not cutting legal muster, let’s look back at the case – because in the legal blogging business, it’s not often you can litter a post with LOL-media. Besides, there’s footage of the events, so why not use ‘em!


In the beginning, the Hyland sisters were just two American tweens who took dance classes at Abby Lee Miller’s academy.

Then, one day, the Fairy Reality TV Godmother touched down at Abby Lee’s dance factory. Kazzam! Stars were born!

But then reality raillery got real – and physical. Accusations were lobbed, fists were flung, and arrests were made.

Seasoned in the ways of reality TV stardom, after the incident, Abby Lee cried on the shoulders of four other people well-versed in on-air brawling (albeit verbal), the hosts of The View.

And bingo!  Hyland fired back with a Dance Moms defamation lawsuit alleging slander and breach of contract (with the production company). The asking price: $5 million in punitive damages.

From the lawsuit:
“the producers of the show [Collins Avenue Entertainment], in an effort to attract ratings and viewership, encourage and facilitate conflicts between Miller on the one hand and the young girl dancers and their mothers on the other.”

But alas, the presiding judge disagreed. She found no grounds for a valid Dance Moms defamation claim.

Pro-tip and tl;dr: if you sign on that Faustian reality TV contract line, don’t hope to launch a successful defamation lawsuit if something goes wrong on-air.

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