EXCLUSIVE: Just over a week after the Empire co-creator tried to get Sean Penn’s $10 million dollar defamation lawsuit against him moved to federal court, Lee Daniels has today backed down and paid out, it seems.
“Having considered the arguments and authorities raised in Penn’s October 22, 2015 pre-motion letter requesting a remand and having diligently met and conferred, Daniels has agreed to withdraw his Notice of Removal, and to have this matter remanded to the Supreme Court of the State of New York,” said a letter from Daniels’ lawyers filed today in federal court. “Further, the parties’ resolution includes Daniels’ payment of a confidential monetary amount to Penn consistent with the guiding principles” of the U.S. Code, it adds.
While no dollar amount was given, sources tell me that the payment by Daniels was for Penn’s legal fees, as the Oscar winner’s primary attorney Mathew Rosengart requested on October 22. A proposed order to Judge Edgardo Ramos was submitted today as well (read it here) formally moving the matter back to the N.Y State courts.
Citing that Penn lives in California and he resides in New York, Daniels submitted a request for removal in both the NY Supreme Court and federal court on October 21. This was their first response to the Mystic River actor’s September 22 multi-million dollar complaint based on an interview Daniels gave implying Penn abused women.
A day later Penn’s lawyer hit back pointing out that the federal statute doesn’t let a civil action be shifted to another court if the defendant lives in the state where the initial suit has been filed – as Daniels does. Before today’s resolution, the two sides were scheduled to go head-to-head in Judge Ramos courtroom on November 10. Now they are saving their powder for state court.