Lawsuits Filed After 'Dance Moms' Abby Lee Miller and Kelly Hyland Fight

Brooke Hyland, Kelly Hyland, Paige Hyland and Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms
L to R: Brooke Hyland, Kelly Hyland, Paige Hyland and Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms on Lifetime TV

Earlier this week, fans watching Dance Moms season 4, episode 7 titled "Big Trouble in the Big Apple" were shocked and saddened by the physical altercation between two of the show's stars, studio owner Abby Lee Miller, and dance mom Kelly Hyland (whose daughters Brooke and Paige are also on the show). The fight occurred while the cast was filming at a competition in the Bronx last November, and Hyland was subsequently arrested. News of lawsuits broke on TMZ – Miller's charges against Hyland in January; Hyland's 5 million dollar lawsuit against Miller in February – and both gave interviews to ABC News.

The relationship between Miller and Hyland – who have known each other since they were children (when they were teenagers, Miller was Hyland's dance coach) – has been tense since the beginning of Dance Moms, which debuted on Lifetime TV in July of 2011. Miller has been particularly hard on Hyland's daughters, Paige and Brooke, who were members of the Pittsburgh, PA-based Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) on Miller's Elite Competition Team. On several occasions, Hyland has quit the studio, and then returned.

During the current season of Dance Moms, Miller has been holding auditions and threatening to replace one or all of the girls from the (ALDC), except, perhaps, her favorite, Maddie Ziegler. On the episode that showed the altercation, there were several incidents that escalated the tension between Miller and Hyland; in the moments before the fight, Miller brought in a new girl, Kalani Hilliker, and was comparing her to Hyland's daughter Brooke in a way that was unflattering. During the argument that ensued, Miller jumped up and was thrusting her finger in Hyland's face, Hyland returned the gesture, and when Miller made chomping motions as if she was going to bite Hyland, Hyland smacked Miller's face and pulled her hair. For a detailed account of what happened, read our Dance Moms recap for season 4, episode 7 "Big Trouble in the Big Apple":

Here is how the news unfolded in the media:
  • On January, 9, 2014, TMZ was the first to report on the altercation between Kelly and Abby: 'Dance Moms' Star ARRESTED For Cat-Fighting Abby Lee Miller [TMZ]
  • On January 21, 2014, Miller and Hyland appeared in a New York City courtroom: 'Dance Moms' Stars BLOCKED from Tweeting at Co-Star Following Alleged Attack [TMZ]
  • On January 28, 2014, Abby Lee Miller appeared on The View and spoke about the incident. When asked if Hyland's daughters, Paige and Brooke, were still part of the team, Abby answered "no," and said there were three girls who hadn't signed up with her and only visit her studio to shoot the show, "…but they are not members of the Abby Lee Dance Company…. the other children, Maddie, Kendall, Nia , McKenzie, they're there every day… taking their dance classes." Based on what Abby said, and the list of girls who ARE still with the studio, it appears that the three girls who didn't sign are Paige, Brooke, and Chloe Lukasiak, another ALDC member who is often on the receiving end of Abby's criticism. Scroll down for the video.
  • On January 30, 2014, ABC news published an interview with Kelly Hyland in which she stated, "I'm just not that kind of person, that I would never, I'm just not that type of person that would fight with somebody unless I was provoked." When asked if she was disappointed that she allowed herself to be provoked by Miller, Hyland, 42, replied, "Yes, I don't think anybody wants to be provoked, but I was standing up for my kids.": 'Dance Moms' Star Kelly Hyland on Alleged Assault on Abby Lee Miller [ABC News]
  • On February 14, 2014, TMZ exclusively reported that Hyland filed 5 million dollar lawsuit: "Kelly Hyland is suing Abby Lee Miller and the "Dance Moms" producers for assault, defamation, and breach of contract - she claims she hasn't been getting paid regularly since the fight. She also wants $5 mil in punitive damages." In the court documents, Kelly says that Abby was "gnashing her teeth loudly attempting to bite [me]." TMZ states Kelly also says that "the producers intentionally drove her away from the fight and put her on a plane -- knowing police would issue a warrant for her arrest ... and thereby create a juicy story line." 'Dance Moms' Star Sues... [TMZ]

Abby Lee Miller and Kelly Hyland are due back in court (for the hearing Miller initiated) on March 10, 2014.

On the next installment of Dance Moms (season 4, episode 8) titled "Wingman Down," Miller states that Hyland is "not allowed on the premises."


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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime

Photo courtesy of Lifetime
Video ©The View (ABC)

Posted on Friday, February 14, 2014