Wednesday, August 17, 2011

{alltv} Could Russell Armstrong's Family Successfully Sue Bravo Over His Suicide?

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Russell Armstrong was apparently having a tough time hearing his name dragged through the mud as a regular plot point on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

But, should his survivors claim that the show pushed the troubled financial executive over the edge, do they have a leg to stand on if they go after Bravo in court?

To put it simply...

They almost certainly do not.

"There would be little grounds for a lawsuit, if any at all," L.A.-based entertainment lawyer Lincoln Bandlow tells E! News. "There would be very detailed contracts, releases and acknowledgements about what they are getting into" that the Real Housewives players would have to sign beforehand.

Makes sense, considering the caliber of the drama—splits, catfights, etc.—that ends up onscreen on even a so-called episode, sans family-shattering tragedy.

"They are willful participants on the show, they know what they're getting into," Bandlow says. "They know it may cause them bad public attention...Unless you're defrauding and misleading someone, you aren't going to have [legal repercussions]. If you're lying to a person, then maybe. But if you're on a reality show, you're getting filmed and you know what comes with it, there's no claim."

But while Armstrong's stepbrother, Wade Jackson, told RadarOnline today that their so-called tight-knit family was considering suing Bravo, Armstrong's attorney assured E! News that he knows of no such plan in the works.

"This is his extended family and I only speak with his biological mother and father who do not share those views," said attorney Ronald Richards. "They have no standing to sue anyone and Radar prints anything that creates drama. However, legally speaking, the stepbrothers have no leg to stand on."

Bravo has not yet responded to a request for comment. Andy Cohen, host of Watch What Happens Live and executive VP of original programming and development, wrote today that Bravo was still unsure how to proceed with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which is supposed to have its second-season premiere Sept. 5.

Armstrong was found dead in his Mullholland Drive home on Monday night after hanging himself. An autopsy performed today confirmed that his death was a suicide.

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