July 17, 2007 -- Hollywood disc jockey Samantha Ronson has filed a $20 million libel lawsuit against the people behind two gossipy Tinseltown celebrity Web sites.
The lawsuit accuses perezhilton.com and celebritybabylon.com of reporting allegations that Ronson left drugs later discovered by police in actress Lindsay Lohan's car, and that Ronson had made money by tipping off the paparazzi to when and where Lohan would be appearing, according to court documents.
Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira and runs perezhilton.com, and Jill Ishkanian of Sunset Photo and News, who runs the site celebritybabylon.com, were named in the suit that was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week.
Ronson and her attorneys took issue with a gossip item reported in May on celebritybabylon.com, which claimed it had "learned" that it was Ronson, 29, whose cocaine was found by police in Lohan's car after the actress crashed her Mercedes into a curb on Sunset Boulevard. Lohan was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence. Police reportedly found a "useable" amount of cocaine in the car.
The item was reproduced June 1 on perezhilton.com, but in his posting, Lavandeira added that Ronson had been "toxic" to Lohan and had been "selling her out to the paparazzi." The Web site reported that Ronson "allegedly entered into an agreement with a photo agency to tip them off to her whereabouts with Lindsay, even creating photo-ops for them."
The next day, Lohan went to a drug rehabilitation center.
In court papers, attorneys for Ronson say that both sites' proprietors knew that the items they were posting about Ronson were false, but published them with "actual malice."
Lavandeira denied he had done anything wrong.
"I think my inclusion in the lawsuit against Sunset News & Photos has no merit and was just done for publicity-seeking purposes," Lavandeira wrote to ABC News in an e-mail. Ishkanian was not immediately available for comment.
Ronson has made a name for herself in and around Los Angeles as a disc jockey for parties and events. She is often photographed at Lohan's side.
For Lohan, her troubled family, emerging acting career and apparent substance-abuse issues have made the freckled 21-year-old a magnet for controversy and publicity. She's often lumped in with two other Hollywood party girls Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. All three have been decried as bad role models for the thousands of young girls who track their every move.
Lohan gained fame early, as an 11-year-old cutie starring in "The Parent Trap."
Six years later, having starred in the film "Mean Girls," Lohan was reportedly hospitalized for exhaustion. The following year her mother, Dina, got a restraining order against her husband, Lohan's father, Michael. He was barred from making contact with his estranged wife or their children. The couple eventually divorced.
In early 2006, Lohan was again hospitalized after reportedly cutting her shin at songwriter Ryan Adams' home. A few weeks later, she was reportedly back in a hospital, for what was described as a severe asthma attack. Then again, in July 2006, Lohan returned to the hospital claiming dehydration and exhaustion, which caused her to miss filming for the movie "Georgia Rules."
That incident prompted a scathing and widely distributed warning letter from studio head James G. Robinson accusing Lohan of going to the hospital to cover up her excessive on-set partying.
This weekend, Lohan left rehab and was spotted in Las Vegas partying with friends, though her spokesperson said that she is clean and sober.