A Florida judge has dismissed a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit filed by a Tampa man claiming to be the illegitimate son of actor William Shatner.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that, for decades, radio DJ Peter Sloan, 61, has claimed that Shatner, 87, is his father. The “Star Trek” actor, who has three daughters, has publicly stated that Sloan isn’t his son.
The public denial led Sloan to file a $170 million defamation lawsuit against Shatner in 2016. Sloan was seeking $50 million for pain and suffering, $30 million for compensatory damages, and $90 million in punitive damages.
In a court filing obtained by the newspaper, Judge James Whittemore accused Sloan of using the defamation lawsuit t0 establish paternity. It’s something Sloan denied, but he went on to acknowledge that a DNA test would be the “next logical step.”
Moreover, Sloan told Tampa Bay Times that he’s repeatedly asked Shatner to take a DNA test with no success.
Sloan said that his late actress mother, Kathy Burt, and Shatner had worked together on Canadian television in the 1950s. Sloan claimed the pair had a one-night stand in 1956, which led to Burt becoming pregnant with him. Burt reportedly gave him up for adoption and didn’t tell Shatner about the child until 1962.
“Since it has never been established that Shatner is plaintiff’s biological father, the alleged defamatory statements he attributes to Shatner and his agents, could not have been, as a matter of law, false when made,” the judge wrote in court papers, according to the Daily Mail.
Burt reportedly reconnected with her son in 1984 and claimed that one of two men could be his father: Shatner and law student in Montreal who she only identified as “Chick.” The Tampa Bay Times reported that Burt was more confident that Shatner was his father.
Further, Sloan said the “Twilight Zone” actor admitted to being his father in 1984 but didn’t go public because he didn’t want to hinder his career, according to the Daily Mail.
Judge Whittemore highlighted other issues with Sloan’s case when he dismissed it with prejudice on Friday. One of them was that the court lacked jurisdiction as Shatner was a Canadian native who lived in Los Angeles, California, but has no ties to Florida.
The radio DJ said the last time he saw Shatner was in 2011 when he paid for a picture with Shatner at an Orlando comic convention. He believes the actor knew who he was.
Following Friday’s ruling, Sloan said he’s ready to let go of the civil suit but will still claim Shatner as his father and refer to himself as “Peter Shatner.”
“I have every intention of taking the name from him,” he told the local newspaper. “He owes that to me. It is my birth rite. Let him sue me.”
[Featured image: William Shatner/AP Photo/Steven Senne]
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