12:26pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Kevin Spacey Must Face Lawsuit From Anonymous Massage Therapist
Kevin Spacey must face a lawsuit from a massage therapist who claims to have been sexually assaulted by him in October 2016 — without knowing the man's name until later in the proceedings.
The actor in April asked the court to either dismiss the lawsuit against him, or order the plaintiff to identify himself.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lew on Tuesday found that the massage therapist has sufficiently demonstrated that his claims present special circumstances that warrant proceeding anonymously.
"Plaintiff's vulnerability to humiliation, harassment, and threats, is further exacerbated by the nature of
Defendant's status as a high-profile celebrity and the media attention that comes with it," writes Lew. "The Court finds that anonymity is necessary to protect Plaintiff's privacy and to protect against any further trauma."
Spacey's attorneys had argued that the plaintiff's anonymity would prevent them from conducting third-party discovery, but Lew disagrees. The court found the complaint provides sufficient detail regarding time, location and facts surrounding the alleged assault, and Spacey likely has bank statements or other records that could provide him with information about where the man worked, for example.
The man won't get to stay anonymous to Spacey forever though.
"The Court finds that the need for Plaintiff's anonymity outweighs the prejudice to Defendant and the public's interest in knowing his identity at this stage," writes Lew. "However, the Court acknowledges that maintaining anonymity throughout the entirety of this case would prevent a just resolution, as Defendant will need to know Plaintiff's identity at some point either during discovery or before this case proceeds to trial."
Lew also dismissed Spacey's loan-out company, Profitt Productions, as a defendant and denied the plaintiff's motion to remand the proceedings to state court. The full decision is posted below.