Judge says 'M:I 3' suit can go to trial


A "Mission: Impossible 3" crew member who was badly burned in an explosion can proceed with a negligence lawsuit against Tom Cruise's production company, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Special effects technician Steven Scott Wheatley suffered third-degree burns on more than 60% of his body in June 2005 when explosives designed to simulate a missile attack went off unexpectedly during filming at the Agua Dulce Movie Ranch, court documents said.

A Superior Court judge said there were sufficient grounds for Wheatley to proceed to trial against Cruise/Wagner Productions; Viacom, the parent company of Paramount Pictures; the owners of the movie ranch, and various people who were on set when he was hurt.

Wheatley has another lawsuit pending against the Los Angeles County Fire Department. He claims the county fire safety adviser and county fire inspector overseeing the production failed to ensure his safety on the set.

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 8.