Ruling Marks the Third Time in Recent Months the Courts Throw Out Lawsuits Filed Against SAG
Los Angeles (June 3, 2004) – For the third time in recent months, a court has dismissed a meritless lawsuit filed against Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
This week, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Chirlin threw out a claim brought against Screen Actors Guild (SAG) by a former executive, Lance Simmens. Simmens, who served previously as SAG's National Director of Government Relations, had charged that he was improperly discharged when his position was eliminated in a Guild-wide reorganization in early 2002. In its ruling, the Court rejected Simmens' claims, including his assertion that his employment was terminated due to an internal policy dispute.
Last Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter dismissed discrimination and retaliation allegations brought by Patricia Heisser Metoyer, the Guild's former Executive Administrator of Affirmative Action. Metoyer worked in SAG's Los Angeles office from 1998 until 2001, when the Guild terminated her employment after an audit by PriceWaterhouseCoopers revealed that she had diverted funds earmarked for programs supporting performers with disabilities and for studies of aging in primetime television. The Court declined to reach the merits of Metoyer’s claim for defamation, and remanded it along with the Guild’s counterclaim against Metoyer to the state court, where the Guild will continue to seek recovery of the funds diverted by Metoyer.
The Guild also recently prevailed in an action filed by former National Director of Communications, Katherine Moore. Moore charged that her reputation was damaged by public statements concerning her role in tabulating the ballots cast in a SAG election. California Superior Court Judge Elihu M. Berle dismissed Moore's case, entitling SAG to recover its attorneys' fees.
"We are very pleased that the courts have dismissed these groundless claims and spared our members the further expense of going to trial," said SAG General Counsel David White. "Because this litigation comes at a significant cost to the dues-paying members of this union, we will seek reimbursement from these individuals for our legal costs, as the law permits."