AP Photo/Ron Lewis
Oprah Winfrey's holiday wish this year is definitely not a suit.
The talk-show queen is asking a federal court in Philadelphia to toss a defamation lawsuit brought by the ex-principal of Winfrey's South African girls school over remarks made in the wake of molestation allegations.
Nomvuyo Mzamane is seeking more than $250,000 in damages for remarks Winfrey made insinuating that Mzamane failed in her duty as the head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls after a dorm matron was accused of assaulting and abusing six students last year.
"I thought she cared about the girls of South Africa," Winfrey said at the time.
Following an investigation, the matron, Virginia Mokgobo, 27, was arrested by South African police and dismissed from her job. Mzamane followed her out the door after Winfrey faulted the principal for failing to address the scandal.
But Mzamane didn't go quietly, vehemently disputing the allegations.
Team Oprah filed a motion Friday defending her comments, asserting she didn't say anything libelous, and asking the court to shelve the suit on jurisdictional grounds.
"Ms. Winfrey is not subject to personal jurisdiction. She doesn't live here, her business is not here, so this is not the correct jurisdiction for which she can be sued," Winfrey's Philadelphia-based attorney, Carl Solano, tells E! News.
He also adds that Winfrey's company, Harpo, shouldn't be held liable either, because it had nothing to do with the statements for which she's being sued.
"This doesn't belong in court to begin with, but if the matter does proceed then it should go to arbitration...subject to the arbitration provision of the plaintiff's employment agreement," Solano says.
He also claims that Mzamane's $150,000-a-year contract stipulates any disagreement over employment be dealt with in arbitration.
Mzamane filed suit in the Keystone State because she was previously employed at the Germantown Friends School in Philly. Once she was let go by Winfrey, Mzamane went back to the area but claims she has been unable to find work due to the scandal and Winfrey's rebukes.
Mzamane's lawyer, Timothy McGowan, was unavailable for comment.