US judge considers sending Angelina Jolie stuntwoman's phone hacking lawsuit to UK
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A federal judge in Los Angeles suggested Monday that Great Britain would be the proper place for a Hollywood stuntwoman to pursue a lawsuit against News Corp. and related companies over alleged phone hacking.
But after hearing legal arguments, U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald said he would consider it further.
Fitzgerald's statement against the plaintiff undercuts efforts by New York lawyer Norman Siegel to take on Rupert Murdoch's companies in a U.S. courtroom, where discovery laws are more liberal than in England. Siegel is seeking more details about the alleged hacking scheme.
Eunice Huthart, a stunt double for Angelina Jolie, alleges her phone was hacked in 2004 and 2005 while she was in Hollywood filming "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." Jolie and Brad Pitt became a romantic item during that movie, and it was reported by the Sun newspaper. Huthart alleges they found out about it by hacking her cellphone.
She says she did not learn of the intrusion until British police came to see her in 2011 when the hacking scandal broke.
Siegel told the judge that sending the case to Great Britain would be tantamount to a dismissal because most cases associated with the hacking scandal have already been resolved and deadlines have passed for filing suits there.
He argued that the alleged violation of Huthart's rights occurred in the United States. "When the attack on privacy occurs within our borders it should not go unpunished," Siegel said.
The judge said Huthart was the victim of "what seems undisputed as a shocking violation of her privacy." But he suggested the underlying motive of the lawsuit was to get her monetary damages.
"I would not be here if all this was about was a check," said Siegel, a veteran civil rights lawyer.
"Counsel, this case is about a check," Fitzgerald said.
"It is not," Siegel said.
Defence attorney Joseph M. Terry said Huthart is an English citizen and her case belongs in Britain.
"When they choose a forum for more liberal discovery rules, that is forum shopping," he said. "They can't choose a forum because they think the laws will allow them to (question News Corp. chairman) Rupert Murdoch."
"You have a very interesting case," the judge said. "If this was a personal decision, I'd like to keep you here. And Ms. Jolie being a witness would be very interesting. But given that, I believe it belongs in England."
Fitzgerald did not set a date for his final ruling.
Read more Business News
- Borba trial to resume next monthPenticton / S. Okanagan - 5:00 am
- Council grabs attentionWest Kelowna - 5:00 am
- Horning making a comeback?Kelowna - 6:27 am
- Sex offender arrested for murderBC
|QHR Technologies Inc||1.29||+0.02|
|Anavex Life Sciences||0.2039||-0.0156|
|Copper Mountain Mining||2.41||+0.01|
|Sunrise Resources Ltd||0.02||-0.005|
|Mission Ready Services||0.27||0.00|
“Is this a fair offer from ICBC?”…. “How much should I settle for?”… “What is my claim worth?” These are just some of the questions I regularly get as...
Last night I was privileged to be able to speak at the Greater Westside Board of Trade business awards dinner. Photo: ContributedI talked about Innovation and Collaboration which are two very interes...
There will be a time when you will need to decide who you should appoint as executor of your Will. As well, there may be a time when you will be asked by someone to act as the executor of his or her W...