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Fox wants an L.A. judge to toss claims against the network by a costumer who alleges she was struck by Fred Savage on the set of The Grinder.
Youngjoo Hwang in March sued the actor and the network, claiming Savage had a reputation for tormenting female crewmembers and yelled at her not to touch him and “violently” struck her arm while she was dusting dandruff off of his suit on set.
Judge Holly Fujie in September threw out the gender-based claims, finding the claims as alleged suggested Savage’s conduct was driven by a desire to not be touched and a personal dislike of Hwang, but allowed Hwang to amend her complaint. The new iteration included allegations that Savage has a reputation as a “woman hater” and allegedly yelled at a female PA who worked on The Grinder, but never behaved in such a way with men. Fujie in December granted in part a second demurrer, but let several of the claims against each defendant stand.
Now Fox is arguing Hwang can’t establish any of the elements required to further her two remaining claims against the company.
“Specifically, plaintiff must establish that (a) Mr. Savage violently hit her because she is a woman; (b) she suffered legally cognizable harm; and (c) she suffered that harm because Mr. Savage violently struck her arm,” writes attorney Molly Lens in a Jan. 18 motion for summary judgment. “Plaintiff cannot establish any of these elements.”
Fox argues Hwang has no direct or circumstantial evidence that Savage hit her because she’s a woman, or that she suffered a financial or physical injury. Her alleged loss of sleep and anxiety, Fox argues, isn’t enough. The company is also apparently arguing that any emotional distress wasn’t caused by the alleged incident. In several heavily redacted sections, Fox argues Hwang has a history of emotional distress and suffered the same symptoms “but worse” prior to working on The Grinder.
Savage joined Fox’s motion and, in a footnote of that filing, states that Hwang also couldn’t identify anyone who witnessed the alleged incident and testified that she couldn’t remember which arm he purportedly struck.
“Mr. Savage disputes that he touched plaintiff’s arm, much less that he did so ‘violently,'” states the filing. “For the purposes of the summary judgment motion, however, the Court need not decide whether Mr. Savage committed the claimed ‘violent act,’ as plaintiff’s claims fail on multiple independent grounds.”
A hearing on the motion, which is posted in full below, is currently set for April 5.
Jan 31., 4:45 p.m. Updated with information about Savage’s joinder in the motion.
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