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Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Kevin Spacey is no Elizabeth Taylor

So holds the district court in the federal suit against Kevin Spacey in denying plaintiff's motion to remand. Spacey removed, arguing that he became a Maryland citizen when he began working on House of Cards. Plaintiff moved to remand, arguing that Spacey's homes in Maryland were tied to HoC, were temporary, and owned by shell companies, such that his real domicile was London (where he has been living for the past several years). The opinion illustrates how courts analyze and determine the evidentiary issues around citizenship.

The court also denied Spacey's motion for summary judgment, finding a genuine dispute as to whether Spacey's conduct (grazing Rapp's but while lifting him up, throwing him on the bed, and laying on top of him) qualifies as touching of "intimate parts" for purpose of abuse or sexual desire to bring the claims within the statute-of-limitations revival statute. I am still not convinced that whether something constitutes  an intimate part is a legal question for the court to decide based on the undisputed facts. But the rest of the analysis seems right.

I gave this case as my Civ Pro final last month. I am pleased with how many students got the SJ analysis spot-on.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 7, 2022 at 02:48 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman | Permalink


(PPS: Here's a free link to the opinion for all the non-BLAW subscribers out there.


Posted by: kotodama | Jun 8, 2022 4:56:55 PM

(PS: Glaring typo right at the start of p. 2 of the opinion—"Mr. Fowler's hand HIS 'grazed' Mr. Rapp")

Posted by: kotodama | Jun 8, 2022 4:56:06 PM

So, on SJ, the court says—in a single, conclusory sentence—there is a fact dispute over whether any part of Rapp's body (tuchas, other parts of body involved with being picked up, thrown, and lain on top of) touched by Fowler qualified as "intimate parts." But, I don't see how that's a dispute of fact. Fowler doesn't seem to dispute his literal conduct—i.e., what Fowler actually did. He just disputes the legal significance (under the forcible touching statute) of that conduct. So I think it's really a question of law.

The cited Appellate Division case (People v. Sene) also suggests it's a question of law. The court in that case was talking about how to interpret language in the sexual abuse statute. And the court reached its conclusion in part by considering "general societal norms"—which again doesn't seem like a fact question (at least not one particular to a given case; maybe it could be a question of "legislative" fact).

So, I would have denied SJ here too, but because Fowler isn't entitled to judgment as a matter of law on this point, not because of any fact dispute.

In this context, I also don't quite get what you mean by: "I am still not convinced that whether something constitutes an intimate part is a legal question for the court to decide based on the undisputed facts." If you're saying roughly what I said above, that's great though :)

All this talk of "intimate parts" is giving me vibes of another Howard ... Stern.

Posted by: kotodama | Jun 8, 2022 4:54:59 PM

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