Court of Appeal:
Judge Landin Properly Denied Music Producer’s Motion to Vacate Default Judgment, Opinion Says
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed two orders by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis J. Landin, each denying a motion to set aside a $15 million default judgment against Grammy-winning music producer Noel Fisher in favor of a model/singer who claims he raped her on seven occasions during a period ending in 2018 while he was guiding her music career.
A minute order of Sept. 24, 2019 recites that Landin awarded “damages of $5,127,660.00, punitive damages of $10,000,000.00, interest of $2,520.51, and costs of $726.23 for a total of $15,130,906.74.”
Fisher, who goes by the professional name of “Detail,” contended that service of him by publication did not provide actual notice to him and that he moved for relief, in pro per, on October 30, 2019, promptly upon learning from a friend of a magazine article reporting the judgment against him.
Landin denied the motion on music Feb. 25, 2020. In response to a renewed motion, made on Fisher’s behalf by an attorney, Landin declared on March 3, 2020:
“As set forth in the opposition, there is convincing circumstantial evidence that Mr. Fisher willfully evaded service of the complaint and that he did have actual knowledge of the action in time to defend against it.”
Presiding Justice Elwood Lui of Div. Two said in yesterday’s decision:
“We agree with this finding. Respondent’s complaint received immediate and widespread publicity in publications with which appellant was without doubt very familiar. (His express denial that he read about the complaint in these publications is not credible.) In any event, the most convincing indication that appellant was well aware of the complaint is that he completely disappeared from the scene after December 2018. Given his wide-ranging presence in the recording industry, it must have taken considerable effort on his part during the first months of 2019 to obliterate all signs of his presence in Los Angeles. Until the order of publication issued in May 2019, the process server was unable to find any trace of a residence, although he did detect signs that appellant was, at least from time to time, present in this city.”
The case is Kristina B. v. Fisher, B304878.
Lui referred to the plaintiff by an initial in place of her surname notwithstanding that the plaintiff sued in the Los Angeles Superior Court under her full name, Kristina Buch, and was so identified in her Court of Appeal brief filed on May 5. The opinion cites two news accounts on action brought by Buch, providing a hyperlink to each of them.
One of the links is to an article that appeared on Dec. 28, 2018, in Billboard, which begins:
“An aspiring model/singer named Kristina Buch filed a lawsuit against veteran hip-hop figure Noel “Detail” Fisher on Thursday (Dec. 27) claiming that the “Crazy In Love” producer engaged in a two-year pattern of violent sexual assault and emotional abuse under the guise of guiding Buch’s nascent career. The suit comes eight months after Buch and a second aspiring artist, Peyton Ackley, were granted temporary restraining orders against Fisher following similar claims that he had abused them.”
The other referenced report, provided on Dec. 31, 2018, by DigitalMusicNews.com, says:
“Last March, two women—Kristina Buch and Peyton Ackley—filed restraining orders against Noel ‘Detail’ Fisher.
“They alleged that the producer raped and physically assaulted them. Fisher also forced them to perform sexual acts in front of others.”
A Sept. 26, 2019 Associated Press report tells of the default judgment in favor of Buch and makes note of a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct filed by Isabella Mack. The AP story mentions:
“The Associated Press typically does name alleged sexual abuse victims, but Buch and Mack agreed to make their names public via their lawsuits and public statements by them or their lawyers.”
Lui provided no explanation for concealing Buch’s last name.
Copyright 2021, Metropolitan News Company