One of “CSI: Miami” TV star David Caruso’s former assistants, who alleges the actor reneged on a deal to pay her $450,000 in exchange for assisting him in fighting claims made by another assistant, saw her case against her ex-boss pared by a judge Friday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin dismissed allegations made by plaintiff Rose Avila of fraud and negligent misrepresentation against Caruso and his company, Greta Films Inc. The ruling leaves Avila with claims against the actor of breach of oral contract, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and sexual assault and battery.
Fruin also dismissed Avila’s fraud and negligent misrepresentations claims against the law firm Venable LLP, plus her third allegation that the firm put its interest ahead of hers. The ruling removed Venable as a defendant in the case, leaving Caruso, his company and attorney Barry Kellman as the remaining defendants.
Attorney Michael Weinsten, on behalf of Caruso, said after the hearing he will bring a motion later to dismiss the remaining claims against his client.
Avila was hired by Caruso in 2015 and helped him plan trips to Cuba and arranged for his transportation as well as prostitutes who allegedly served him, according to her lawsuit filed Feb. 25, which says she lived with the actor’s second assistant.
In December 2016, the other assistant “had a nervous breakdown due to the toxic work environment fostered by the Caruso defendants,” according to Avila’s suit, which says the unnamed assistant planned to sue Caruso and asked Avila to assist her. Caruso then offered Avila $450,000 and help finding an apartment for her and her sister if she cooperated with him, according to the complaint.
Caruso gave Avila $14,000 for her apartment lease and leased a car on her behalf, but she did not receive the promised $450,000, her suit alleges. Avila alleges she was fired in February 2017.
Avila further alleged that attorneys for Venable, representing the former “CSI: Miami” star, prepared a false documents for her to sign that they intended to use against his other assistant and that they convinced her at the time to give up potential sexual harassment claims she had against the 63-year-old actor, which included unwelcome touching. The suit alleges Kellman was one of the attorneys with whom she spoke.
However, Avila ultimately included sexual assault and battery among her lawsuit claims against Caruso.
Kirsten Spira, a lawyer representing Venable, said two of Avila’s claims were filed too late and that the fraud claim lacked any details showing how the law firm could have known that Caruso allegedly didn’t intend to keep his end of the bargain with Avila.
In his ruling, the judge said that although Avila asserted that Venable did not present her with a document stating she was waiving any conflict of interest, that still didn’t constitute fraud.
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