Former SAG Pension & Health Plan Employee Sues Plan a Second Time

Craig Simmons alleges he was defamed when the Plan told participants that his allegations against the Plan director were false.

The SAG Pension & Health Plan’s former head of human resources and information technology, Craig Simmons, sued the Plan for defamation and invasion of privacy Wednesday, alleging that the Plan published false allegations about Simmons in a letter sent to SAG members on or about Dec. 22, 2011.

This is the second lawsuit filed by Simmons against the Plan. In his first suit, filed in March, he alleged wrongful termination a year earlier in retaliation for reporting alleged illegal conduct by the organization’s CEO, Bruce Dow.

PHOTOS:  Top 10 Legal Disclaimers in Hollywood 

In response to those allegations, the Plan allegedly issued a letter to Plan members stating that Simmons’ allegations were false. But Simmons says that that statement by the Plan is itself false and defamatory.

A source close to the situation told The Hollywood Reporter that the wrongful termination suit is now in arbitration as a result of an arbitration clause in Simmons’ employment agreement. The new lawsuit includes a demand for jury trial and may not be blocked by the arbitration clause.

Christopher Dowdell, CEO of the Plan, told THR, “We consider the matter of Mr. Simmons to be closed and will not comment on this or any other legal proceedings initiated by him.”

Bookmark The Hollywood Reporter’s Labor Page for the most in-depth coverage of entertainment unions and guilds.


Twitter: @jhandel