California lawyer on trail of rich and famous

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The Independent Online
Gloria Allred, a Californian lawyer, is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with if you are rich and famous and concealing even the tiniest of skeletons in your closet - especially if the case is high profile and there are feminist implications.

Fresh from winning a long-running battle between heiress Sita White and the former cricketer Imran Khan, to have him declared the father of her child, Ms Allred has filed a suit on behalf of an unnamed "Californian model" claiming that Dodi Fayed has broken off their engagement.

Ms White, the daughter of the late Lord White, a partner in the Hanson conglomerate, obtained a ruling that the international cricket star, now a Pakistani politician, is the father of her five-year-old daughter, Tyrian. The ruling was obtained by default, as Mr Khan, who has always strenuously denied paternity, did not appear for the hearing or supply a blood sample for examination.

Yesterday Mr Khan, who is now married to the late Sir James Goldsmith's daughter, Jemima, issued a statement saying that he would submit himself to a blood test in Pakistan. "It is simply not possible for me to travel the world fighting court cases in every country," he said.

Filing the successful outcome of that case under her designer belt, Ms Allred has struck again claiming damages for breach of contract and "distress" following the publication of photographs of Dodi Fayed kissing Diana, Princess of Wales.

"An American model was engaged to be married to Dodi Fayed until last week," she said, adding that she would later be providing "important information about their relationship at the time of the `kiss' photo."

Whether Dodi Fayed would use that adjective is another matter. But it would seem that high-profile men tangle with Ms Allred at their peril.

Kate Watson-Smyth