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Plaintiff Michael Egan III, who sued director Bryan Singer and three Hollywood executives alleging teen sex abuse in Hawaii in 1999, has voluntarily dismissed his suit against one of the men, David Neuman, seemingly bringing to a close litigation that may have forever associated the former Disney executive with salacious but apparently untrue allegations of improper conduct.
Egan’s case against Neuman appeared to crumble three weeks 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.” A sanctions motion served by Neuman’s counsel may have underscored the apparent defects in the suit.
UPDATE: In a statement, Neuman’s counsel, Patricia Glaser of Glaser Weil, said “This evening the completely unfounded and 100 percent false charges against our client David A. Neuman, were dismissed. Today’s news affirms to everyone that David Neuman’s fine reputation deserves to stand strong and was attacked with no merit.”
She added, “In as much as we celebrate the truth this evening, we will hold accountable those who wrongly created the hurt and damage by making outrageous, untruthful assertions that cannot be undone. 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.”
Nonetheless, Egan’s dismissal was “without prejudice,” meaning the suit could be refiled, and The Hollywood Reporter has learned there is no settlement agreement between Egan and Neuman.
Egan’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, who had previously been vocal in his outreach to the press, did not respond to a request for comment, and it was not immediately possible to reach Neuman’s counsel.
The suits against Singer, Gary Goddard and Garth Ancier remain pending. However, the dismissal of the case against Neuman seems an implicit acknowledgement of a cloud on Egan’s credibility. That may portend an end to those cases as well.
Like Neuman, all three other defendants have filed motions to dismiss, which are scheduled to be heard July 28. Meanwhile, Neuman’s sanctions motion is now mooted by the voluntary dismissal.
All of the motions to dismiss cite two passages in Egan’s deposition, which was taken in the course of a 2000 sex abuse lawsuit that he and two others filed against three executives of the now-defunct Digital Entertainment Network, DEN. 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.”
In addition, Goddard’s motion 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.
Last week, 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, cover much the same time period and some of the same 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. Indeed, Neuman, like the 2000 defendants, was a top DEN executive.
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 May 3 in Los Angeles federal court on behalf of “John Doe 117,” an anonymous British actor, which also alleges teen sex abuse.
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