Former flight attendant sues Oprah over sex claim

Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:11pm EDT

T.V. host Oprah Winfrey introduces U.S. first lady Michelle Obama during a dinner in support of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Copenhagen September 30, 2009. REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool

T.V. host Oprah Winfrey introduces U.S. first lady Michelle Obama during a dinner in support of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Copenhagen September 30, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Dharapak/Pool

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Oprah Winfrey has had pretty good luck in litigation during her career.

Back in 1998 she won a Texas defamation case brought by cattlemen who weren't thrilled when she said she'd sworn off burgers on a show about mad cow disease. This year she beat back a trillion-dollar lawsuit by a poet who claimed copyright infringement, and she recently filed an aggressive suit against marketers who claimed she put her stamp of approval on dietary supplements.

Now, a former flight attendant on Winfrey's private jet says she was fired after being accused of having sex during a flight in June, and she's filed a federal lawsuit against Winfrey's production company denying the allegations.

Corrine Gehrls alleges that flight attendant Myron Gooch and Winfrey's goddaughter, Kirby Bumpus, made false and defamatory accusations that led to her dismissal.

Gehrls and chief pilot Terry Pansing were fired a short time after the allegations were made, according to the suit, even though they passed polygraph tests about the incident.

The complaint also tosses in the claim that Winfrey and Bumpus were asleep during the June flight after taking sleeping pills.

Neither Oprah nor her Harpo production company is commenting on the suit. The complaint seeks more than $75,000 in damages from Harpo, Gooch, Bumpus.

(Editing by DGoodman at Reuters)

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