Judge tosses out several claims made by woman who says Johnny Depp's security guards roughed her up at show
Johnny Depp can breathe a sigh of relief.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued a ruling Thursday tossing out many of the claims made against Depp in a lawsuit stemming from an alleged incident at a December 2011 Iggy and the Stooges concert at the Hollywood Palladium.
In the suit, filed in April, a disabled woman claimed that Depp's bodyguards roughed her up and humiliated her at the concert. However, a ruling from Judge Michael Johnson struck down a number of her allegations.
The ruling also deemed that the plaintiff — named as Jane Doe in her original complaint — must disclose her identity if the case is to go forward.
Johnson cited a rule requiring that the complaint to include "the names of all the parties," unless the unnamed party is at the risk of retaliation, or the matter is of a "sensitive and highly personal nature," or the party would be compelled to admit an intention to engage in illegal conduct. Johnson found that none of those criteria apply in this case.
Johnson also struck down the negligent hiring and retention portion of the case against Depp on the grounds that the plaintiff didn't allege that Depp was responsible for hiring the guards in question.
The judge further found that the plaintiff's negligent infliction of emotional distress claim is invalid because the plaintiff "has not alleged a preexisting relationship or duty that is necessary for" the charge.
Perhaps best for Depp, the judge struck down the suit's claim for punitive damages, because the suit did not establish that there was any advance knowledge or authorization of the guards' alleged conduct. (Concert promoter Live Nation, also named in the suit, moved to strike the punitive damages, with Depp joining in part.)
The judge gave the plaintiff 20 days to file an amended complaint with her real name and fix the other pleading deficiencies listed in the ruling.
Though the case was filed anonymously, TMZ had previously identified her as Robin Eckert.
Andrew Brettler, an attorney with Lavely & Singer who's working with Depp's lawyer Singer on the case, said Thursday's ruling was "an important victory" for the actor.
"It's an important victory for Depp today," Brettler said. "The plaintiff, Robin Eckert, needs to plead using her real name and she can't hide behind the cloak of anonymity anymore."
Eckert — who, according to the suit, suffers from fibromyalgia and must walk with a cane or other instrument — claims that Depp's security detail savaged her in the VIP section of the Palladium, putting her in a bear hug, restraining her wrists and prying her iPhone from her hands, one finger at a time.
The suit goes on to claim that the guards then handcuffed her and dragged her through the theater as her pants were removed from her torso and hips, "exposing her buttocks to the other Hollywood Palladium Theater patrons." Eventually, the suit says, Depp's security guards dragged her up several stairs, after which Hollywood Palladium employees ejected her from the venue.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.