A plastic surgeon suing actress Geena Davis for divorce is barred — for now — from presenting testimony of an expert who would have testified that the couple was validly married under Islamic-Iranian tradition, a judge ruled Monday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Juhas said the testimony of Sadreddin Nouri-Khorasani may be proper later in the non-jury trial to determine the authenticity of the 2001 nuptials between Davis and Dr. Reza Jarrahy, but the judge declined to admit it Monday.
Davis’ attorney, Peter Lauzon, said outside the courtroom he was pleased with the ruling.
“This was a win for us,” he said.
Lauzon said he believed Jarrahy’s side was “sandbagging,” a legal term for surprising the opposing side with last-minute testimony or discovery.
The Iranian-American Jarrahy maintains his father, Parviz Jarrahy, was a valid officiant of their wedding under Islamic law. The 48-year-old physician filed his petition in May 2018 and is seeking spousal support. The 63-year-old Davis and her lawyers maintain the marriage was not valid because Jarrahy’s father was not qualified to marry people under New York law.
Jarrahy’s lawyers had originally sought to use Nouri-Khorasani’s testimony in rebuttal to the expected testimony of Davis’ expert witness, Abed Awad. But after Davis’ legal team decided against calling Awad, Jarrahy’s legal team sought to use Nouri-Khorasani’s testimony anyway.
Heidi Madzar, one of Jarrahy’s lawyers, said Nouri-Khorasani and an interpreter for the Farsi-speaking witness had been brought to court Monday at considerable expense to the doctor’s side and asked that his testimony be allowed to save money. The judge said he believes in cutting expenses in family law cases, but allowing Nouri-Khorasani’s testimony was not proper at this time.
Nathalie Paluch, another of Davis’ attorneys, said her side had insufficient time to examine Nouri-Khorasani’s background before Monday’s proceedings.
Addressing another issue, the judge declined to rule on Madzar’s request that her client be relieved from a previous agreement between the parties that the doctor’s father, who presided over the purported marriage in the Hamptons in Long Island in 2001, was not an imam, which generally refers to someone who leads prayers in a mosque.
She said she and Jarrahy’s other lawyers did not know at the time they entered into the agreement that under Islamic-Iranian tradition a person can be authorized to be an imam for a day and that Jarrahy’s father was therefore a qualified officiant. Nouri-Khorasani, himself an imam, could have clarified the issues, Madzar said.
“This religion is perhaps a little different from others,” Madzar said.
The judge said he wanted to give Davis’ lawyers more time to study the issues before he rules on whether Jarrahy can be released from the agreement or remain bound by it.
Both sides also agreed that no marriage license was obtained.
The trial will resume in 2020, with the exact dates yet to be set.
The former couple have a 17-year-old daughter and twin 15-year-old sons.