Wednesday, August 25, 2021

LeBrun v. CBS Studios (Cal. Ct. App. - Aug. 25, 2021)

Television studios are sophisticated, carefully run entities.  Particularly for popular shows like NCIS New Orleans.  So nothing like this could ever happen:

"LeBrun and Roublow are actors who were living in New Orleans, Louisiana . . . . who were chosen in a casting call . . . . [The producer of the show, Derek Wells] told them . . .  they would be acting in a scene depicting an armed robbery. Wells gave them black costumes, ski masks, and realistic-looking prop weapons that looked like high-powered automatic assault rifles and other firearms. Wells, his crew, and the actors drove in an unmarked van to Virani’s store, which was located on a busy commercial block. At the direction of Wells, LeBrun and Roublow jumped out of the van in their costumes, brandishing the prop weapons, and stormed into Virani’s store shouting lines Wells had instructed them to say . . . . A concealed camera that was located inside the store filmed the scene.

Unbeknownst to plaintiffs, no one from CBS or the show had obtained filming permits to shoot the scene, nor had anyone informed the local authorities or the neighboring businesses that they would be filming an armed robbery scene for a television show. They also failed to station a staff member outside the store to reassure neighbors or passersby that there was no actual robbery taking place. . . .

A neighboring business owner saw the unmarked van pull up and men in ski masks brandishing guns jump out and run into the store. Believing that Virani’s store was being robbed, the neighbor called 911 to report that an armed robbery was taking place. The SWAT team from the Chalmette Police Department responded to the scene within minutes. Officers broke down the door to the store and entered with their weapons drawn. . . ."

It's a wonder no one was killed.  Thank goodness.

As for the lawsuit, plaintiffs should have sued earlier.  The lawsuit's barred by the statute of limitations at this point.

But at least they weren't shot.

P.S. - I'm not sure why plaintiffs decided to be represented by a firm that bills itself as the best "criminal defense" firm available, but for whatever reason, it didn't work out.