The supposed memorandum of settlement, obtained by Buzzfeed, appeared legitimate at a glance to Las Vegas attorney Marc J. Randazza, who is uninvolved but familiar with the case and the formulaic California documentation.
He’s also been a part of lawsuits that took a similar turn at the last minute. But Randazza says signed or not, an agreement is an agreement. “I’ve had cases in the past where we come to an agreement, everything’s fine, and then somebody has a change of heart,” Randazza told TheWrap. “When that happens, you still have an enforceable settlement.”
It’s a misconception that a settlement requires a signature on an official paper filed in court, Randazza added. “Unless there’s a provision [in the settlement docs] that wasn’t really agreed upon. But the provisions that were agreed upon were effectively settled.”
Therefore, the fact that Egan was the only party not to sign the official settlement docs might not matter, providing they are legitimate and he gave the OK to his attorneys on the deal. That can be proven simply by emails, should they exist.
Now, Egan’s attorney, Jeff Herman, is filing to withdraw himself from the case, which Randazza believes points to further evidence of a client’s change of heart, rather than an attorney trying to push a settlement on a client.
“I would be very, very surprised if his attorney did that without authority,” he said. “We’re a very cautious bunch. For 100 grand, I can’t see any lawyer with a half-decent practice, [forcing] it on his client.”
But don’t expect more of an explanation out of Herman, other than the vague statement he already released to TheWrap. “We are in the process of withdrawing from representing Mr. Egan in all his cases and have no further comment concerning his matters at this time,” Herman said. “We cannot comment on any actual or purported documents that may or may not be or reflect privileged or confidential communications. We decline to speak about any other clients we may or may not have represented.”
“Ethically, they’re not going to be able to be all that forthcoming with the why [they withdrew],” Randazza said.
Theoretically, there is at least one other thing that may have happened here, of course — if Egan never agreed to the $100,000 settlement and he is in the process of filing a malpractice case against his attorney, the lawyer would have to withdraw.
So what does this mean for the case going forward?
Well, the hearing regarding Singer’s motion to dismiss may be compromised — or possibly even unnecessary — if the memorandum proves to hold water. If that’s the case, Singer could file a motion to enforce the settlement and walk away $100,000 lighter, Randazza said.
But it’s also important to note that the documents in question had a term of confidentiality associated with them, so there would be repercussions for whichever party leaked the private papers. “Whoever leaked it, breached it, so that’s a problem,” Randazza said.
Those potential “remedies” may or may not be spelled out in the document, he added.
According to the original documents obtained by TheWrap, Egan claimed he was 17 when he was forced to perform various sexual acts with Singer during the late-1990’s.
The court papers alleged Singer “manipulated his power, wealth, and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage Plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats, and inducements which resulted in Plaintiff suffering catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries.”
Egan also filed suits against several other Hollywood executives, including Garth Ancier — a television executive who formerly ran programming at Fox, the WB and BBC Worldwide America — and former Disney executive David Neuman, as well as Broadway producer Gary Goddard. Each of those three suits was eventually dropped. Singer’s is the last of that bunch that remains, though he has a court date next month for his motion for dismissal filed in May.
Separate suits filed by someone under the protective pseudonym John Doe No. 117 were filed against all four. Each of those have since been dismissed.
Bryan Singer‘s attorney, Martin Singer, has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment on the documents.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report