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Joe Francis’ Countersuit Against Interior Decorator Tossed

from – Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Buckley had said in April he was inclined to throw out Francis’ complaint at that time, but decided to give him 20 more days to decide if he wanted to continue with it.

In February, a different judge had granted a motion by Francis’ attorney to be relieved as counsel and the videomaker never hired a replacement or filed papers stating his future intentions.

On Nov. 3, Francis countersued Ralph T. Haenisch and his company, Trip Haenisch & Associates Inc., alleging fraud.

The countersuit was filed in response to Haenisch’s lawsuit, which the designer filed in April 2009 in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging breach of oral contract. Haenisch later added claims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Haenisch alleges Francis refused to pay nearly $285,000 for furniture and other high-end furnishings for his home, which he intended to make a “showpiece to the world.”

Haenisch also maintains Francis defamed him in e-mails after becoming enraged upon seeing a posting about the lawsuit on a celebrity website.

Francis also sent Haenisch intimidating e-mails after finding out the designer could be called as a witness in a tax evasion case brought against Francis in 2007, the suit alleges.

Francis does have a lawyer defending him in Haenisch’s suit.

According to the countersuit, which was thrown out today, Haenisch allegedly charged Francis prices up to 10 times higher than his normal rate for improvements made to the videomaker’s Bel Air home.

The complaint claimed Haenisch did not have a contractor’s license, and that Francis was owed a complete refund under state law.

Haenisch’s lawyer, Pantea Yashar, said after the hearing that she was happy with the dismissal.

“It was completely meritless and it’s now dismissed with prejudice,” Yashar said, meaning Francis cannot re-file the complaint.

The trial of Haenisch’s case is scheduled for July 14. Buckley today denied a request by Yashar for a delay of about two months so more pretrial work can be done.


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