February 13, 2014 11:13am PT by Eriq Gardner
City of Los Angeles Saved From Anthony Pellicano Lawsuit
On Thursday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the latest development in the ongoing legal saga of Anthony Pellicano, the former private eye who spied on behalf of some in Hollywood against others in town.
Since Pellicano's activities became known, there's been plenty of civil lawsuits. One such case is the action brought by Kissandra Tysman.
Tysman is a former associate of Ed Masry, famously played by Albert Finney in Erin Brockovich. Masry died in 2005. But before the attorney passed away, he was accused by Tysman of using Pellicano to harass her. Allegedly, Pellicano's activities were aided by phone company employees and crooked cops.
But now, Tysman's lawsuit against PacBell and the City of Los Angeles won't survive. That's because the 9th Circuit has affirmed a lower court's ruling to dismiss the case because it was brought too late.
Tysman sued for invasion of privacy in 2005, and at the time, she sued Pellicano and John Does.
Then in 2007, she filed a new lawsuit against PacBell and L.A. To survive the statute of limitations, which is three years upon discovery, she argued that the 2007 complaint should be treated by the district court as an amendment to her 2005 lawsuit, which came two years after the FBI informed her that her phones had been wiretapped. In short, she asserted that she was really amending her first lawsuit.
"California law provides that the substitution of a named defendant for a Doe defendant within three years of the filing of a complaint relates back to the original complaint," writes a panel of 9th Circuit judges. "But Tysman cites no authority for the proposition that filing the 2007 lawsuit is the functional equivalent of having moved in 2007 to substitute PacBell into the 2005 lawsuit. The district court did not err in rejecting this argument."
Tysman is out of luck a second time because the judges won't let her amend her original 2005 lawsuit either.
But that's not an end to Pellicano litigation mania.
Anita Busch, a journalist now at Deadline Hollywood, is still pursuing Michael Ovitz for allegedly putting Pellicano up to no good. This past autumn, Busch went through the first phase of a trial to determine whether she amended her own "John Doe" lawsuit soon enough to include the former superagent. The judge in the case is still considering the evidence. If the judge determines that Busch's lawsuit isn't precluded by the statute of limitations, she'll see Ovitz again at a new trial to determine whether Ovitz is culpable for an intimidation campaign.