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Britney Spears still mum on suit

Published October 15, 2004 1:51 am

Diet pill deja vu: A drug company was accused of linking its product to the singer almost a year ago
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2004, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

With a grueling tour schedule and the controversy over her recent wedding, it's easy to understand why Utah is a low priority to Britney Spears.

Nevertheless, the pop sensation was ordered Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell to explain why she has failed to respond to a complaint filed against her in Salt Lake City almost a year ago.

The "Oops . . . I did it again!" diva sailed past the Sept. 1 deadline to reply - her second extension. The case was filed in November, when a Salt Lake County drug manufacturer sought relief from allegations it had improperly used her image to advertise its product.

The controversy that landed Spears in a Utah court began with a moment of clumsiness in October 2003, when Spears dropped her purse in London's Heathrow Airport. A flock of paparazzi caught her on her knees, scrambling to herd a pile of diet pills back into their bottle.

The diet pills were Zantrex-3, formulated and manufactured in Salt Lake County by Zoller Laboratories LLC, DG Enterprises and Basic Research LLC.

The trio of companies sued Spears as a pre-emptive strike after her attorneys accused them of making an improper link between Spears and the pills on their Web site.

But almost a year later - while the companies' attorneys spent trying to serve Spears with papers - there has been no progress. It appears as though the drug company has gotten what it wanted in the first place - to be left alone.

"We are in communication with her attorneys in New York," said Salt Lake attorney Jefferson Gross.

Spears has until Oct. 22 to reply to the order. If she fails, Zoller and companies will win a declaration approving their actions by default.

mwestley@sltrib.com