LOS ANGELES -- The mother of "Modern Family" actress Ariel Winter sued an associate of her adult daughter for defamation Monday, claiming he falsely labeled her an "abusive monster" in an online comment about an ongoing custody struggle for the teenage star.

Chrisoula Workman filed the defamation and false light lawsuit against Matthew Borlenghi, claiming his comment attached to a Nov. 9 Los Angeles Times online story was false and has harmed her reputation.

Borlenghi is an actor who teaches at a studio operated by Shanelle Gray, Winter's adult sister who currently has custody of the 14-year-old actress.

A judge temporarily stripped Workman of custody amid allegations she had been physically and emotionally abusive to the star.

A trial on whether Workman will be completely lose custody is scheduled to begin today.

Borlenghi said he had not yet seen the lawsuit and declined to say whether he posted a comment about the story on the Times website.

The story centered on Workman's allegations that Winter was having an improper relationship with an 18-year-old actor.

"This is a total falsehood," the comment attributed to Borlenghi states. "The mother is grasping and clawing to find a way not to lose her money-maker, and hide the fact that she is an abusive monster."