Penn Jumps Legal Hurdle in Bing Battle
Superior Court Judge Irving Feffer ruled that Bing, 38 -- a familiar name thanks to news stories of how he fathered Elizabeth Hurley's 1-year-old child, Damian -- cannot sue Penn for attempted civil extortion because the claim does not exist in California law.
The jurist also dismissed three additional claims by Bing, but invited his attorney to revise and re-file them.
The lawsuits started flying following Penn and Bing's failed collaboration on a film project titled "Why Men Shouldn't Marry." Penn, 42, sued Bing for $10 million, accusing the producer of firing him because of his anti-war stance, which in some quarters was deemed anti-American.
Bing then countersued for $15 million claiming the leading man attempted to extort money for a role he never accepted and that Penn reneged on a promise to waive script approval so that Woody Allen would agree to direct the project.
Bing said the $15 million will repay his pre-production costs and Allen's salary, according to his attorney, Martin Singer. He adds that the extortion claim stems from Penn's threat to release a potentially damaging audiotape featuring Bing unless he was paid $10 million.
The case is due to resume July 3. In the meantime, Singer said he plans to re-file the extortion claims, and may take Monday's ruling to a California appeals court. Penn's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.