Tom Cruise and attorney Bert Fields have won a summary judgment dismissing a lawsuit filed by former Bold magazine editor Michael Davis Sapir, who claimed Cruise and Fields had hired private investigator Anthony Pellicano to wiretap him.
In a hearing at the Central Civil West courtroom in Los Angeles, Judge Elihu M. Berle ruled that the statue of limitations had expired on Sapir’s claim.
The statue of limitations argument was one of four grounds on which the defendants’ lawyers had argued for dismissal – but defendants' attorney Brian A. Sun of the Jones Day law firm told TheWrap that Berle dismissed the case on those grounds alone and didn’t consider the other arguments.
In 2001, Sapir offered a $500,000 reward to anyone who could produce video evidence that Cruise was gay. When he issued a subsequent press release claiming to have obtained such a video, Cruise filed a $100 million defamation suit. That case was settled in November 2001, with Sapir publishing a retraction, saying it was someone else in the video.
Sapir later claimed that at the time the 2001 suit was ongoing, he was investigated by Pellicano at the behest of Cruise and Fields. He charged that his phone was wiretapped by the controversial Hollywood investigator, who is currently serving time in a Texas prison on racketeering and wiretapping convictions.
But Sapir did not file his $5 million lawsuit against Cruise and Fields until December 2009, well after the statue of limitations in the California Code of Civil Procedure had expired.
The defendants’ lawyers also argued that Cruise, Fields and the Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP law firm, also a defendant in the case, did not hire Pellicano to work on the Sapir case; that Sapir had no evidence that Pellicano had tapped his phone; and that in the 2001 settlement Sapir agreed not to make any further claims against Cruise and Fields.
Those arguments, according to Sun, are now moot, unless Sapir appeals and wins.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.