Sex Abuse Accuser Files New Case Against David Neuman
Michael Egan III withdrew his case against Neuman last week, then filed a new lawsuit two days later.
Just two days after voluntarily dismissing his Hawaii teen sex abuse suit against television executive David Neuman last week, plaintiff Michael Egan III filed a new case against him with similar allegations in Los Angeles, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The previous suit alleged misconduct in Los Angeles and Hawaii in 1998-99, while the new suit mentions only Los Angeles allegations.
The Hawaii case appeared to crumble a month ago when Neuman filed a motion to dismiss that attached a 2003 declaration in which Egan said he’d "never had any kind of physical contact" with Neuman other than non-sexual social contact and that Neuman "never acted improperly." In addition, Egan’s 2003 deposition surfaced, in which he said he’d never been outside the continental U.S. and that no one other than three named individuals had sexually abused him. Neuman was not one of the three. A sanctions motion served by Neuman’s counsel may have underscored the apparent defects in the suit and led to the dismissal.
In the new suit, Egan asserts that he signed the 2003 declaration "under fear, threats, and duress." The new suit doesn’t address the deposition, and makes no mention of trips to Hawaii.
Neuman’s counsel did not immediately have a comment on the new suit. However, when the Hawaii suit was withdrawn last week, Patricia Glaser of Glaser Weil called the allegations "completely unfounded and 100 percent false," and said "David Neuman’s fine reputation deserves to stand strong and was attacked with no merit."
She added, "We question seriously the underlying prejudices and motives in targeting David Neuman with this groundless and defamatory action. Today’s dismissal exposes this despicable lawsuit for what it really was: an unethical smearing and failed shakedown of a completely innocent man."
In an unusual move, the new suit was filed against "John Doe," an appellation usually used when the actual defendant is unknown. However, the suit identifies Doe as the then-president of the now-defunct Digital Entertainment Network, DEN -- which Neuman was -- and discusses the 2003 declaration.
The Hawaii suit benefited from a two-year window in the statute of limitations that allowed otherwise stale claims to be brought. California has no such window, but the new suit argues that the claims are nonetheless timely because Neuman allegedly had a duty to notify Egan of the legal statute of limitations and failed to do so, and because Egan repressed his memory of the abuse he alleges was inflicted by Neuman.
Egan was represented by counsel starting in 2000 but nonetheless never sued Neuman until 2014, even though he did sue three other DEN executives in 2000 for alleged sexual abuse. As recently as 2011, Egan renewed the judgment in the 2000 case.
Egan’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, who had previously held press conferences and been vocal in his outreach to the press, did not respond to a request for comment.
Similar suits by Egan in Hawaii against director Bryan Singer and executives Gary Goddard and Garth Ancier remain pending. All three have denied the allegations and filed motions to dismiss, which are scheduled to be heard in late July or early August.
All of the motions to dismiss cite two passages in Egan’s deposition, which was taken in the course of the 2000 sex abuse lawsuit that he and two others filed against three DEN executives, but not Neuman. In one section, Egan says he’s "never had any trips outside the continental U.S." with the 2000 defendants, contradicting assertions in the 2014 suits that he did go on such trips, in groups that he asserted included both the 2000 defendants and the 2014 defendants.
Elsewhere, Egan says, in response to a question about "this thing that happened to you," that no one other than the 2000 defendants had been "partaking in all this stuff."
Goddard’s motion also included copies of over 300 pages of receipts, theater and movie ticket stubs, and handwritten calendar pages intended to document his absence from Hawaii during the three-month time period at issue.
Ancier’s filing included portions of a different deposition in the 2000 case in which a potential witness said that Egan and a co-plaintiff offered to give the witness half of any recovery from the lawsuit. The witness -- Melvin Berman, a personal chef to one of the 2000 suit defendants -- said in the deposition that he didn’t believe that Egan and the other plaintiff had actually been abused.
Accompanying his motion to dismiss, Ancier included declarations from his then-assistant and others that he didn’t travel to Hawaii during the period in question, and that Egan didn’t either. Ancier also said that he had reviewed his calendar entries, credit card statements, expense reports, telephone records and travel-related documents, and they "show that there is no way he could have been in Hawaii" as alleged in the complaint.
Singer also filed a motion for summary judgment, an additional procedural move attacking the suit several weeks after his motion to dismiss. It includes declarations from various people associated with DEN asserting that neither Singer nor Egan were on the two alleged trips to Hawaii.
The 2014 lawsuits filed in Hawaii federal court -- as well as the new one filed in Los Angeles federal court last week -- cover much the same time period and geography as the 2000 suit, yet the prior suit did not name or even mention the 2014 defendants.
Herman has never offered an explanation of the omission despite publicly promising to obtain one. Nor has Egan’s counsel in the 2000 suit, who represented him as recently as 2011, provided any explanation as to why the 2000 suit didn’t name the four men whom Egan sued in April.
Herman said previously, "Mike maintains that he was in Hawaii with the defendants and his mother maintains that she spoke to [2000 suit defendant] Chad Shackley and authorized him to take Mike to Hawaii on at least two occasions."
In response to the Singer motion to dismiss, Herman said, "I do have a response, but I am restricted in that I can only talk about what is in the court record. Many of the things being reported are being taken out of context or you’re only hearing one side of the story. At the appropriate time and in the appropriate venue, we will respond."
Meanwhile, Singer and Goddard have yet to file a response to a separate suit brought by Herman on May 3 in Los Angeles federal court on behalf of “John Doe 117,” an anonymous British actor, which also alleges teen sex abuse.