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Billie Jean King wins palimony case

LOS ANGELES -- A palimony suit filed against Billie Jean King by her lesbian former lover, who claimed the tennis star promised her a Malibu beach house and lifetime support, was thrown out of court Friday.

Judge Sara Radin ruled the suit had been decided in an earlier eviction action and concluded Marilyn Barnett had no case against Mrs. King and her husband, sports entrepreneur Larry King.

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In the first phase of the sensational suit last December, Miss Barnett, who became traveling companion and secretary to one of the world's best known athletes, was evicted from the beach house she once shared with Mrs. King.

Miss Barnett, 34, claimed in her suit filed in April 1981 that Mrs. King had promised to give her the beach house owned by the Kings and lifetime support in return for her services as secretary, cook, cleaning lady and confidante.

Shortly after the suit was filed, Mrs. King admitted at an emotional news conference that she and Miss Barnett had a lesbian relationship but denied she promised lifetime support.

Mrs. King was in Australia when the judge dismissed the suit Friday and was not immediately available for comment.

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Last year, an injunction was granted prohibiting Miss Barnett from releasing about 100 love letters written by Mrs. King during their affair.

Judge Julius Title, who ordered Miss Barnett's eviction last December, said Miss Barnett had come close to attempted extortion by refusing to give the letters to Mrs. King in exchange for $125,000.

Miss Barnett, who met Mrs. King in 1972, had attempted to win her case under the landmark Marvin decision, which established the right of unmarried partners to equal property rights. She claimed she had given up a career as a hairdresser for Mrs. King.

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