Deadline extended in Affleck sex harassment case

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Deadline extended in Affleck sex harassment case

Fri Aug 06, 2010 @ 06:48PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Affleck,casey Lawyers for Casey Affleck and one of the women suing him for sexual harassment during the shoot of his Joaquin Phoenix documentary have filed court papers extending a key deadline in the case by a month. Could that mean the parties are talking settlement?

Affleck attorney Marty Singer tells us no settlement negotiations are under way. And Brian Procel, the lawyer who represents producer Amanda White and cinematographer Magdalena Gorka, declined to comment.

But White, the first to sue Affleck for $2 million on July 23, was scheduled to submit her opposition brief on Monday to Affleck's motion to move the case from Los Angeles Superior Court to private arbitration. That deadline has now been pushed back a month to September 9. No reason was given in the stipulation. In our experience, extensions in heated litigation are often negotiated to provide time to work out differences and settle a case. But just as often, attorneys seek extra time merely because they need it to prepare a brief.

Perhaps coincidentally, the new deadline is the day before "I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix" is scheduled to be released by Magnolia Pictures in the U.S. (it will premiere at the Venice Film Festival in advance). If some kind of settlement is reached before then, the cases could be dismissed. If not, they could drag on in public, even as the movie hits theaters.  

As you'll recall, White and Gorka claim they left the project after enduring repeated sexual harassment by Affleck, who is married to Phoenix's sister. White claims Affleck pressured her to stay in a hotel room with him, and Gorka says Affleck crawled into bed with her as she slept. Singer has denied the allegations, calling them part of a scheme to extort money from Affleck. The filmmaker also has threatened to countersue.  

Meanwhile, official promotion for the movie, which follows Phoenix as he travels the country trying to become a rap star, has already started. Here's the recently-released poster:

Im_still_here

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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