NEW ORLEANS (CN) – An actor’s lawsuit arising from an “NCIS: New Orleans” armed robbery that was staged by CBS and ended with local police officers arriving to the scene with guns drawn has been sent back to the Louisiana court it was originally filed in.
According to the three-page lawsuit filed in March by attorney J. Jacob Goehring on behalf of Justin Lebrun in St. Bernard Parish District Court, Lebrun was working as a paid actor for “NCIS: New Orleans” in October 2017 when CBS and Danni Productions had him play the role of “robbing” a jewelry store and “a squad of local police officers arrived on the scene with guns pointed” at him.
Lebrun claims CBS and Danni Productions didn’t tell local police of their intention to stage an armed robbery, and as a result, he was confronted by armed police officers whose guns were drawn.
He asked for compensation for medical expenses related to stomach pain, headaches, insomnia, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
CBS removed the lawsuit from St. Bernard Parish to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in August.
According to court documents, CBS said the case belonged in federal court because Lebrun is seeking monetary damages exceeding $75,000.
But Lebrun’s attorney, Goehring, argued that CBS waited too long to take the case to federal court. Federal law gives a defendant 30 days to remove a case.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk remanded the lawsuit back to St. Bernard Parish on Tuesday, agreeing that the removal to federal court was not timely.
“Lebrun’s case became removable on June 11, 2018…However, since Danni Productions was served on June 14, 2018, after receipt of the letter and after the case became removable, defendants had thirty days from June 14, 2018 to remove the case to this court,” Africk wrote a 13-page order. “Defendants removed the case on August 15, 2018, over sixty days after service on the second defendant. Construing all ambiguities in favor of remand, the court finds that defendants have not met their burden of proving that removal was timely.”
Lebrun’s lawsuit wasn’t the only one to be filed over the staged “NCIS: New Orleans” armed robbery. Last week, Bradford Roublow, representing himself, also sued in the U.S. Eastern District of Louisiana. He worked as an extra on the set.
Roublow claims that plans for him and three others to do a photo double shoot for one of the scenes changed to a staged jewelry store robbery in a strip mall.
The four extras, all dressed in black suits with ski masks, arrived at the jewelry store carrying fake machine guns, according to his Oct. 18 lawsuit.
“The plaintiff and the three other extras, however, had no idea that the production was being shot at their own risk, ‘guerilla style’ or without any permits or notification of the police. Thus, any complications that may arise were solely their own responsibility,” the complaint states.
After around three takes and 45 minutes into the film shoot, Roublow says he and the three other male actors were “suddenly and frighteningly confronted by the St. Bernard police about a reported jewelry store robbery.”
Police violently busted down the jewelry shop door and told everyone to get on the ground, he claims.
“Ready to act, the Chalmette Police Department had heavy artillery, including real machine guns with lasers, pointed at what they saw as four legitimate jewelry store robbers wearing ski masks and toting machine guns,” the lawsuit states.
One of the actors on the scene was arrested for a bench warrant, and the others, including Roublow, were given their day rate and sent home.
Danni Productions “didn’t want anyone to say anything about it as if trying to sweep the whole incident under the rug,” according to Roublow’s complaint.
Roublow said that after reporting the incident, he stopped getting job offers for work on “NCIS: New Orleans.”
Court records show Roublow’s case was closed on Oct. 22.