2:13pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Ex-Universal Exec Brian Mulligan Files $20 Million Lawsuit Over LAPD Altercation (Exclusive)
A former top executive at Universal Pictures has filed a $20 million lawsuit claiming that Los Angeles Police Department officers who were under investigation for assaulting civilians beat him senseless during a bizarre altercation last year that made national headlines.
Brian Mulligan, who was co-chair of Universal in the 1990s and most recently served as a managing director of Deutsche Bank's L.A. entertainment practice, filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles claiming he suffered a broken shoulder blade and facial fractures requiring several surgeries at the hands of police officers after they stopped him in the city's Highland Park neighborhood and forced him to check into a local motel and stay there against his will. When he left the hotel, Mulligan claims he was attacked by the officers and hit in the face with a baton.
“Brian Mulligan was brutally beaten by a predator wearing a badge and a uniform," Mulligan's attorney Skip Miller of Miller Barondess LLP tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Then he was attacked and vilified in the press. He’s been absolutely devastated in his life. We look forward to having our day in court.”
A rep for the LAPD declined to comment on the lawsuit. In a statement, a rep for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents LAPD officers, said he hadn't seen the lawsuit. "What we can tell you is that Mr. Mulligan thrust himself into the public eye by holding a press conference to discuss his wild and lurid allegations against LAPD officers," the LPPL rep said in the statement. "The unedited, complete version of Mulligan’s tape recorded conversation with another law enforcement agency is at odds with the tale he wove, but the tape speaks for itself."
The suit targets the City of Los Angeles, the LAPD, the Protective League and two officers, James Nichols and John Miller, whom Mulligan claims violated his civil rights by beating him and falsely imprisoning him in the motel. In January, the Los Angeles Times reported that Nichols is under investigation for allegedly luring women to unmarked cars and forcing them to perform sex acts. The story, based on court documents, claimed that LAPD internal affairs investigators believe Nichols and another officer used the threat of jail to drive women to secluded areas where one of the officers demanded sex while the other kept watch.
The circumstances described in the Times report are similar to those detailed in the Mulligan complaint, minus the sex. Mulligan was arrested May 16 in Highland Park as he allegedly was on his way to a medical marijuana dispensary to pick up THC pills to help him sleep on a business trip. He then was detained by Nichols and Miller, who discovered $3,000 in his car. According to the lawsuit, the officers then took Mulligan to the Highland Park Motel, made him rent a room and tried to extort the money from him.
"Nichols told Mulligan he'd be dead if he left the room," the lawsuit alleges. "But unlike Nichols' previous victims, Mulligan didn't comply. He left the motel, and when he did, Nichols found him and beat him within an inch of his life."
The lawsuit refers to Nichols as a "serial predator" and claims that the "LAPD was warned about Nichols but did nothing to stop him, and as a consequence his assaults continued, including the brutal beating of … Brian Mulligan."
In addition to serving as co-chairman of Universal when it was owned by Seagram in the 1990s, Mulligan also once held a top executive job at Fox, arranged financing for MGM and was named to Premiere magazine's list of the top 50 most powerful people in Hollywood.
The Mulligan case received national press attention because of his Hollywood and corporate credentials and because of his involvement with bath salts, a controversial drug that can cause hallucinations and violent behavior. In an encounter with police days before the Highland Park altercation, police said Mulligan was delusional. "I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I feel like there are people following me," Mulligan is reported to have told police. "I feel like there was a chopper -- do you hear a chopper?"
Mulligan claims in the suit that the LAPD and the Police Protective League and its president, Tyler Izen, conspired to smear Mulligan in the media, issuing a press release that called him a "dangerous, delusional drug addict." Audio of the incident appeared online. Mulligan's bloodied and battered face appeared on TMZ, and his involvement with bath salts was widely reported.
In August, Mulligan filed a $50 million claim against the city accusing officers of beating and illegally detaining him. The move was the first step in suing the city over the circumstances surrounding his arrest May 16 at about 1 a.m. for interfering with a police officer.
The lawsuit, which alleges causes of action for violation of civil rights, assault and battery, false imprisonment, police negligence and negligent supervision, was filed against the city of L.A., the L.A. Police Protective League, Nichols, Miller and Izen.