Leah Remini alleges during rape-trial testimony that Scientology targeted Paul Haggis, whom she accused of sexual harassment.
A key allegation against actor Paul Haggis came from the woman making a sexual harassment complaint against him.
Leah Remini is suing Haggis for defamation and seeking damages for the sexual harassment she claims he committed against her as a member of Scientology in the early 1990s.
The actress says Haggis began making lewd comments to her in a hotel room in 1989 and continued the conversation in a hotel room in 1992 when she was 20 years old.
“Mr. Haggis’ behavior toward Ms. Remini was not only rude but also predatory,” the lawsuit says.
Remini, now 39, says she reported the harassment and the Hollywood Reporter first reported the story two years ago.
A representative for Haggis says the actor is seeking to dismiss the lawsuit and has not responded to a request for comment.
Paul Haggis ‘caught in the legal crossfire’
In a new twist to the Haggis case, a lawyer is filing a motion to drop the case, arguing the sexual harassment lawsuit against his client should be dismissed because the statute of limitations has run out.
“You can’t sue for defamation when you’ve already got a lawsuit,” says one of Haggis’ lawyers, who also represents the wife of a former Scientology victim.
“There’s only a statute of limitations for the sexual harassment claim against Haggis, and it appears to be running out,” says lawyer William Kennedy of Kennedy & Schmulowitz in Los Angeles.
Kennedy is arguing that Remini’s claim for defamation should be dismissed because she waited long enough to bring the lawsuit against Haggis before her claims became public. The plaintiff’s claim “is time barred,” Kennedy says.
Remini’s lawsuit goes beyond the “bust” Haggis had in his career because of the allegations of sexual harassment, and asks for $40,000 in damages and $200,000 in punitive damages.
Remini and her lawyer filed the lawsuit in November, and their suit lists numerous witnesses who could testify to Haggis’ behavior.
Remini says in the lawsuit that Haggis sent her sexually explicit letters, and she claims he began to make lewd comments towards her in the early 1990s in a hotel room in Beverly Hills.