‘Twilight Zone’ Civil Suit Settled
SAN FERNANDO, Calif. (AP) _ The families of two children killed on the ″Twilight Zone″ movie set have settled their $200 million lawsuit against the moviemakers, a judge confirmed Thursday.
The parents of Myca Dinh Le, 7, and Renee Chen, 6, welcomed the settlement because they ″wished to avoid the time, expense, lengthy delay and emotional trauma involved in a trial,″ said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Dana Senit Henry.
The disclosure represented only the partial lifting of a gag order in the case. Ms. Henry kept details of the out-of-court settlement secret except to say it involved no admission of liability or wrongdoing by the defendants.
Director John Landis and four co-defendants were found innocent of involuntary manslaughter charges May 29 following a 10-month criminal trial. Attorneys confirmed outside court Thursday that the civil settlement was reached about a month ago.
″I think I can say that we did have extensive settlement discussions over a two-day period in court, and they were fruitful,″ said attorney Cynthia Robins, who represented special effects coordinater Paul Stewart.
Stewart and the other criminal trial defendants were among those named in the case. Also sued were were Warner Bros. Pictures and Burbank Studios, as well as producer Steven Spielberg, several special effects technicians and Bell Helicopter Co., which manufactured the ill-fated ″Twilight Zone″ helicopter.
The two children were killed along with actor Vic Morrow, 53, when the helicopter, hovering amid explosive special effects, fell on top of them during the July 1982 filming of ″Twilight Zone: The Movie.″
Attorney Michael Robins, also representing Stewart, objected to continuation of the gag order, claiming it was an infringement on the free speech rights of all parties in the case.
″Paul Stewart would like to move the court for an order unsealing all records in this court,″ Robins told the judge.
Ms. Henry did not immediately rule on the motion, but suggested the attorney submit legal authorities for such an action before she decides. She left the gag order in effect.
Robins also told reporters that Stewart is engaged in a fight with Warner Bros., which is refusing to pay his legal fees in the case.
Attorney Arnold Klein, who represented Stewart in the criminal case, has also complained publicly that he has not been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees due from Warner Bros.
The judge said a hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in her court on the ″Twilight Zone″ civil case, but she refused to say what the hearing was for and the attorneys would only say it was on a motion by Warner Bros.
They refused to comment any further, fearing they would violate the gag order.