Garth Ancier Countersues Sex Abuse Accuser, Lawyers

4:43 PM PST 06/27/2014 by Jonathan Handel
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Garth Ancier

The NBC exec sued after accuser Michael Egan withdrew his Hawaii case, but Egan has filed new cases in Los Angeles, and Ancier may be one of the defendants.

NBC executive Garth Ancier has sued Michael Egan III and his attorneys, Jeffrey Herman of Florida and Michael Gallagher of Hawaii, on Friday for malicious prosecution, alleging they falsely accused Ancier of sexual assault in an April 21, 2014, lawsuit that Egan dismissed two days ago.

According to the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Hawaii, Egan and his attorneys aimed to “smear, harass and severely injure Mr. Ancier as part of an avowed and very public campaign by Mr. Egan’s counsel to troll for new clients who would enable them to shake down other entertainment industry executives with threats of sexual assault charges.”

“As noted in the Complaint, the improper ulterior motive of the Defendants and the obvious lack of evidence supporting their claims render them liable for malicious prosecution and abuse of process,” said Ancier’s California counsel, Louise Ann Fernandez of Jeffer Mangels in Los Angeles.

The filing asserts that Ancier was never in Hawaii at the time the alleged assaults took place and that, under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, plaintiffs’ attorneys are obligated to conduct a reasonable examination of the facts before filing.

“Mike Egan maintains that he was sexually abused by Garth Ancier in both Hawaii and California,” Herman told The Hollywood Reporter. “Prior to filing the case in Hawaii, Mike was examined by a psychologist who made findings that supports Mike's claims. In addition, Mike passed a polygraph exam pertaining to his allegations. Independent witnesses will testify that Mike alleged in 2000 that he was sexually abused by Garth Ancier.”

The reference to “will testify” seems to mean that another case is or will be filed by Egan against Ancier. Egan’s dismissal of his own suit two days ago was without prejudice, meaning that he can refile — and indeed, as THR previously reported, Egan sued three John Doe defendants in Los Angeles federal court last Friday. Copies of the complaints were not available online but it is believed that they relate to alleged incidents at the same Los Angeles estate and during the same time period as the allegations against Ancier and three other defendants who were sued in Hawaii.

In addition, when Egan dismissed a similar case against David Neuman about three weeks ago, Egan did refile just two days later in Los Angeles — against a Doe who is apparently Neuman (based on the description of the Doe’s occupation as the then-president of the now-defunct Digital Entertainment Network, DEN — which Neuman was).

Herman previously said that under California law, he could not comment on the identity of the Doe defendants unless and until authorized by the court.

“This [malicious prosecution suit] is nothing more than an attempt to silence victims,” Herman added. “I will not be bullied and I will continue to fight for victims of sexual abuse even when it happens in Hollywood. It is easy to understand why victims are afraid to come forward against Hollywood power brokers without someone to protect them.”

“We are pleased the case filed in Hawaii against Mr. Ancier has been dropped given it had no merit whatsoever,” Fernandez said previously. “Mr. Ancier was undeserving of the stain to his reputation caused by the plaintiff’s reckless complaint, which was grounded in lies. We are equally confident that just as this case imploded when the facts became known, any further legal maneuvers or gimmicks will fail because unsupported statements, falsehoods and character smears have no place in any court.”

Similar suits by Egan in Hawaii against Singer and executive Gary Goddard remain pending, as do motions to dismiss.

Herman is a Florida lawyer who was previously suspended from practice for 18 months by the Florida Supreme Court for an ethical violation. In addition, an Oregon District Court judge permanently barred Herman from appearing in that judge’s court as a sanction for Herman’s misrepresentations and other bad-faith conduct.

Counsel for Goddard filed a motion to dismiss last week in a separate Los Angeles teen sex abuse suit brought by Herman on behalf of a different plaintiff, a British actor identified only as John Doe 117. Goddard’s motion alleges that the sexual conduct, even if true, is not actionable for various reasons, including that it occurred elsewhere — in London — and because the age of consent in the U.K. is 16. Singer, also a defendant in that suit, has yet to file a response.

All four defendants — director Bryan Singer, Goddard, Ancier and Neuman — have denied the allegations in the various suits.

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