Judge Sanctions Actress for ‘Frivolous’ Claim

           LOS ANGELES (CN) – An actress who claims she was forced to perform in sexually explicit scenes in Cinemax’s “Femme Fatales” was sanctioned by a state court judge Wednesday for making a “frivolous” claim that her free speech rights were violated.
     Anne G sued production company True Crime, Time Warner Media and its subsidiaries HBO and Cinemax on December 2012. She claimed that True Crime did not warn her that she would have to perform in sexually explicit scenes . When she complained, she said, the production company threatened to sue her for $100,000 for breach of contract.
     Her Superior Court complaint also claimed senior crew members made inappropriate comments to her during filming. She said she was told that “‘Showing your tits [are] a prerequisite to even be on this show.'”
     She claimed that she performed with pasties on her breasts and vagina that began to slip off, and that the production breached union rules by not closing the set during filming of the nude scenes.
     True Crime filed a cross-complaint this year for breach of contract, alleging that the actress knew what she was getting into when she agreed to take the role.
     Anne G hit back with an anti-SLAPP motion under California law, arguing that the production company lodged the complaint to chill her First Amendment rights.
     Superior Court Judge Barbara M. Scheper was having none of that.
     In a Oct. 20 tentative ruling she denied the motion, finding that the actress’ free speech rights did not come into play because True Claim’s cross-complaint did “not arise from the fact that plaintiff filed a lawsuit” and had nothing to do with her “exercise of her right to petition the courts.”
     “Plaintiff was also notified in writing about partial nudity prior to each audition, and a casting agent confirmed with plaintiff, herself, that she would be comfortable with the partial nudity and simulated sex acts. Further, plaintiff signed an Employment Agreement with a Personal Release and Nudity Rider. Plaintiff did not express any concerns with nudity or simulated sex until the second day of filming,” Scheper wrote in her ruling.
     On Wednesday morning, the judge considered True Crime’s motion for recovery of attorney fees in defending against the anti-SLAPP motion.
     Anne G’s attorney Sarah E. Hernandez appeared to want to retread old ground.
     She argued that the cross-complaint included three pages “attacking” her client’s “frivolous” lawsuit and “attacking her protected activity.”
     Judge Scheper was unmoved.
     “I don’t know how, having made the ruling I already made regarding the SLAPP motion, that I would suddenly find now in the context, in this motion for fees, that it wasn’t frivolous, when I already found it was frivolous,” the judge said. “So I’m not sure of the point of continuing to argue the arguments I’ve already rejected.”
     Scheper granted True Crime attorney Harrison J. Dossick’s motion for fees and awarded $15,000.
     Anne G’s 2012 complaint for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring and supervision was not under consideration.
     Hernandez is a partner with Fink & Steinberg. Dossick is with Reed Smith.

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