published Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Judge lets 'X-Men' director's accuser drop sex abuse lawsuit, can re-file it later

  • photo
    shows Plaintiff Michael Egan speaking during a news conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., in this April 17, 2014, file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

HONOLULU — A former child model can dismiss his lawsuit that accused "X-Men" director Bryan Singer of sex abuse in Hawaii, but he has the option to re-file it later, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Michael Egan III said in a previous court filing that he wanted to dismiss the lawsuit, not because it lacks merit but because he can't find a new lawyer to represent him. Singer sought to have the case dismissed with prejudice, meaning it couldn't be re-filed, with attorney costs and fees imposed against Egan.

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway denied Singer's request, saying he didn't prove that Egan's voluntary dismissal case would damage the director's reputation, and that the money spent defending himself doesn't constitute legal prejudice.

"Any alleged damage to defendant's reputation may well be ameliorated by plaintiff's voluntary dismissal of the action," her order said.

Singer's attorneys couldn't immediately be reached for comment. An attorney who Egan has said is advising him, but is not legally representing him, didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Egan's former attorneys asked to be removed from the case after their relationship with him deteriorated.

Egan, 31, accused Singer of sexually abusing him during trips to Hawaii in 1999, when Egan was 17. Singer has denied the allegations.

Egan previously dropped three similar Hawaii lawsuits against other entertainment figures.

The lawsuits were filed under an unusual state law that created a window for civil cases in sex-abuse cases when the statute of limitations has passed.

One of Singer's Los Angeles lawyers, Marty Singer, who is not related to the director, previously said in a statement that Egan's lawyers were willing to settle the case for a low amount, demonstrating a lack of confidence in their chances for success. The amount was not specified.

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