Monday, March 14, 2016
C.A. Affirms Denial of Anti-SLAPP Motion by Actress Who Wouldn’t Perform in Scenes
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed an order denying an anti-SLAPP motion by actress Anne Greene in an action against her by True Crime LLC for refusing to perform in simulated sex scenes in an episode of Cinemax’s late night series, Femme Fatales.
However, Div. Four, in an unpublished opinion by Presiding Justice Norman Epstein, reversed an order granting the production company attorney fees.
The action against Greene came in a cross complaint by True Crime which alleged breach of contract. The actress had brought the initial action, accusing True Crime of sexual harassment.
Greene was a lead player in an episode titled “Jailbreak,” which aired July 13, 2012. The simulated sex scenes were performed by a double after Greene refused to appear for a fourth day of shooting. The production company claimed financial loses based on delay, overtime, and paying the double.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barbara M. Scheper found that the complaint did allege the existence of a protected activity—Greene asserted that True Crime brought its cross-action in retaliation for her having sued it—satisfying the first prong of the anti-SLAPP statute, but that the second prong was not met because True Crime “provided ample evidence that it will prevail” at trial on the merits.
The judge noted that Greene—whose contract contained a “nudity rider” reciting that she might be required to “appear and perform in nude scenes and/or simulated lovemaking scenes”—“received a preview video and copies of the script” prior to each audition, “reflecting that the show was adult-targeted and that the principal cast members would appear partially nude and appear in simulated sex acts.”
First Prong Examined
In his opinion yesterday, Epstein did not reach the issue of likelihood of prevailing at trial. He wrote:
“We agree that paragraphs 28-30 in the cross-complaint allege conduct protected by the anti-SLAPP statute because they refer to her filing a complaint, which is a protected activity….Next, we must consider whether the three causes of action alleged by True Crime arise from this protected activity or whether the allegations are merely incidental to the causes of action….
“True Crime incorporates the general allegations by reference into each of its three causes of action, including the three paragraphs that discuss Greene’s complaint, but does not otherwise rely on any facts regarding the complaint to support its breach of contract claims. Rather, each cause of action is independently supported by facts regarding Greene’s alleged breach of the Nudity Rider and Employment Agreement, activity arising before Greene filed her complaint….”
Epstein said the first prong was not met because “True Crime’s claims for breach of contract are not based on, and do not arise from her protected activity.”
No Attorney Fees
The award of attorney fees to True Crime was reversed. Epstein said the “record does not support a finding that Greene’s motion was totally and completely without merit or solely intended to cause delay.”
The case is Greene v. True Crime, B260333 and B261349.
Keith A. Fink and Olaf J. Muller of Fink & Steinberg represented Greene. Harrison J. Dossick, Zareh A. Jaltorossian, and Christine M. Neuharth of Reed Smith were attorneys for True Crime.
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company