UPDATED with statement from Fisher attorney: In a nearly empty courtroom on Monday, Judge Laura A. Matz of the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Glendale branch signed a rush order making sure the public won’t see one of Carrie Fisher’s less welcome performances: That is, a video-recorded deposition about her role in the treatment and eventual drug-death of 21-year-old Amy Breliant in 2010.
After months of scheduling trouble, Fisher was finally set for the deposition at 1:15 on Monday afternoon, according to papers filed with the court. But not until Judge Matz, at the request of Fisher’s lawyer, and with the agreement of others in the case, authorized a stipulation under which transcripts and copies of the testimony will be sealed. That will be done “to avoid controversy” and “in light of the sensitive nature of the allegations and facts of this case,” the protective order said.
Overall, the case is called Breliant v. Marmer; with related litigation, it has been working its way through the Glendale courthouse and various appeals since 2011, though it hasn’t attracted much attention, as Glendale is a bit of a backwater in the sprawling Los Angeles court system.
At this point, a summary of parties and filings runs to 27 pages; and a trial has been set for Oct. 24. In part, the case involves claims by Gianna Breliant that her daughter Amy, a heroin addict, was subjected to costly, ineffective and illegal treatment by Warren Boyd and a his celebrity-oriented rehab network in and around Los Angeles.
To the public, Boyd is probably best known as the inspiration for and co-executive producer of The Cleaner, an A&E television series about a recovering addict who turns to helping others. He has been credited with contributing to the recovery of Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr., among others.
Boyd has sharply contested Breliant’s claims in court. Boyd and Breliant have not responded to email queries about the case and Monday’s order.
Fisher attorney Vicki Greco, responding to a Deadline query on Tuesday, said Fisher had nothing to do with Breliant’s care and did nothing wrong.
“The subject case involves the tragic death of Amy Breliant following a self-induced heroin overdose on September 21, 2010,” said Greco in a statement to Deadline. “Prior to her death, Plaintiff Gianna Breliant (Amy’s mother) and Amy retained the services of Warren Boyd to assist Amy with her drug addiction and her efforts to remain sober. Mrs. Breliant filed the subject lawsuit four years ago seeking to recover monetary damages for her daughter’s death. Ms. Fisher was not involved in Amy’s care or her efforts to remain sober and denies all of the allegations of wrongdoing. We anticipate the court will dismiss the subject lawsuit and render a judgment in our favor.”
But the case is virtually certain to draw heavy attention if it comes to trial, and not just because Fisher—who has made a public topic of her own addiction problems in books, on stage, and on-screen—is among the defendants.
In 2005, Fisher drew unwanted attention when R. Gregory Stevens, a lobbyist, was found dead in her home of conditions related to his drug use and heart disease. Fisher was accused of no wrong-doing, but she said the incident haunted her.
This time, Fisher is a co-defendant with Boyd on claims that she was effectively in a joint venture with him, and thus responsible for dependent adult abuse and unfair business practices related to Amy Breliant. Breliant, according to court filings, had was placed in a guest house on Fisher’s property in June of 2010. Fisher, according to the claims, which her lawyers continue to contest, was paid a share of Boyd’s profit or revenue “equal to cash payments of $10,000 weekly.” While housed on her property, Amy Breliant is claimed to have spent time with a man who “offered to get Amy drugs for sex, and she complied.”
In September of that year, Breliant died of overdose while housed elsewhere by Boyd, according to the filings. But not before the Breliant family had paid Boyd about $222,000, including payments for writing and acting coaches who were supposed to be part of her therapy.
In her filings, Gianna Breliant says that Boyd’s rehab network, largely as a result of publicity from The Cleaner, which aired in 2008 and 2009, “increasingly consisted of celebrities and the children of celebrities, who were drug dependent.”
Fisher, whose film career was revived by her appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is also set to appear in Star Wars: Episode VIII, set for release by Disney and LucasFilm in December. Her latest book, The Princess Diarist, is set for publication by Blue Rider Press on Oct. 18, less than a week before the scheduled trial date.
In seeking the protective order on Monday, Vicki Greco, who represents Fisher, acknowledged to Judge Matz that she was acting on “rather a rush basis.” The deposition, she noted, had been rescheduled “a couple of times due to unforeseen events,” as her client, Fisher, had been working abroad for several months. The testimony was finally scheduled to take place yesterday at the Los Angeles offices of Stephen Larson, a lawyer who represents Breliant.
In advance of the scheduled trial, the court is set to hear a motion for summary judgment, at 8:30 a.m., on Sept. 30, in Glendale’s Department E, according to the published case summary.