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A dancer is suing pop star Britney Spears, claiming the oft-troubled singer hit her, baby, one more time, fracturing her nasal bone and resulting in "permanent disability."
The complaint was filed by dancer Dawn Noel, NBC News reports. It alleges that Spears committed battery and negligence when she showed up to a rehearsal for her "Work B**ch" music video in what the complaint describes as "a disheveled and confused state." Spears then allegedly "twirled in an unbalanced and reckless manner... and forcefully backhanded (Noel) in the face" while performing a basic dance move.
What will the dancer have to prove to win against Britney?
A battery occurs when a person intentionally touches or applies force to the body of another in a harmful or offensive manner without consent. Unlike criminal battery, where the offensive touching must be intended to offend or harm the person being touched, civil battery merely requires the touching to be intentional or the result of reckless conduct.
Noel may be able to argue that Spears' alleged recklessness in this instance would suffice for intent, but she will also have to prove that this contact exceeded the sort of contact normally associated with being a professional dancer. After all, it's Britney, b**ch: She sees you, and she just wants to dance with you.
On the other hand, negligence involves a situation in which a person breaches a duty of care owed to another -- in other words, they fail to do what they're supposed to do -- and that breach causes harm to someone else's person or property.
Noel will likely argue that Spears' "unbalanced" and "reckless" twirling, coupled with what appears to be signs that she was intoxicated or otherwise unfit to perform with the other dancers, was a breach of the duty owed to Noel at the rehearsal to act as a reasonable person and to exercise the requisite level of care in fulfilling her duty.
If a court finds that Spears did breach a duty owed to Noel and that Noel's damages were caused by Spears' breach, then Britney may be on the hook for a large damage award.
Although NBC reports that the complaint does not specify monetary damages, if previous civil cases against Spears are any indicator the damages could be substantial. Spears could also settle the case for less than the damages sought, as she did with a 2012 sexual harassment case filed by her former bodyguard.
Britney most likely has an experienced personal injury defense lawyer working on her case. Under California law, once Spears is properly served with the lawsuit (if she hasn't been already), she'll generally have 30 days to respond.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.