3:17pm PT by Eriq Gardner, Ashley Cullins
Judge Leans Towards Halting Charlie Sheen Ex-Girlfriend's Lawsuit Over HIV Admission
Charlie Sheen may be on the verge of buttoning up his dispute with ex-girlfriend and porn star Brett Rossi, who sued him in December for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from the actor's admission of an HIV diagnosis.
Los Angeles Superior Court judge Michelle Williams Court has tentatively ruled in favor of Sheen's petition to compel arbitration. However, after hearing arguments at a court hearing on Monday, the judge held back on making the ruling official. Instead, Court will take the matter under submission.
Sheen made headlines everywhere on Nov. 17 when he revealed his health status on NBC's Today Show. At the time of doing so, the actor was working on a settlement with Rossi that would have given her $1 million plus five percent of his profit participation on his TV show Anger Management. Then, Sheen went public about being HIV positive, and according to the lawsuit, blamed her for breaching the deal.
In turn, Sheen is now attempting to enforce the arbitration provision of a confidentiality agreement she signed when the two met.
Rossi alleges that back in 2013, she arrived at Sheen's residence for the sole purpose of having sexual intercourse with him for $10,000. The actor says that everyone who enters his home signs a non-disclosure agreement.
Rossi's attorneys argue that such an agreement is "illegal, invalid and void" while Sheen disputes this, saying the purpose of the agreement was "not to facilitate the illegal act of exchanging sexual favors for money."
If the arbitration provision is valid, Rossi may not get a chance to move forward in a lawsuit that alleges the two fell romantically in love until Sheen started drinking and doing drugs again and became abusive (supposedly locking her in a bathroom one time, throwing french fries across the plane when she wouldn't eat them, ordering a "hit" on her ex-husband, etc.).
Unlike five years ago, when Sheen was desperate to halt an arbitration with Warner Bros. and producer Chuck Lorre after being fired from Two and a Half Men, this time Sheen aims to avoid a public courtroom and have the dispute handled through the arbitration process. Sheen's attorneys argue that Rossi is an "extortionist" with claims motivated by money and revenge for their breakup, and was "well aware of his medical condition ... she was the one who insisted upon having unprotected sex with Sheen."
Besides the arbitration provision of the 2013 first-meeting, Sheen's attorneys point to the November 2015 settlement as similarly requiring Rossi to submit to arbitration regardless of whether he signed, which he didn't, according to Sheen's motion to compel arbitration, because he and his attorneys noticed a video on a celebrity news website in which Rossi claimed he had exposed her to HIV.
At the hearing, Court noted that the issue is not the legitimacy of the arbitration agreement itself, but deciding which venue gets to determine whether the matter is fit for court or arbitration.
Rossi’s attorney Stuart Esner argued the court, not arbitration, is the proper venue. “We’re not talking about unconscionability,” he said. “We’re talking about whether the contract is illegal in its entirety.”
Sheen's attorney Andrew Brettler pointed to Court’s tentative ruling where she noted that the delegation clause is severable from the rest of the contract. Therefore, he argued, regardless of whether the agreement as a whole is unenforceable, the delegation clause would still stand.