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Should Celebrity Depositions Be Sealed?

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Nicolas Cage by nicolas genin via Wikimedia Commons

Nicolas Cage by nicolas genin via Wikimedia Commons

*UPDATED BELOW*

Actor Nicolas Cage is fighting to keep his upcoming deposition in a real estate lawsuit under wraps so tabloids can’t get a hold of it.

Cage is being sued for allegedly concealing problems with a property he sold in Los Angeles. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Cage’s Venice property sustained water damage about six months after he purchased it and the recent lawsuit alleges that such issues were not disclosed to the next buyer.

As Cage is sure to be an important witness in the case, opposing counsel has asked that Cage be made available for a deposition. Cage’s lawyers want any such deposition to be under a protective order, however, which would stop it from becoming public and appearing in tabloids and news sources.

Opposing counsel has not agreed to this provision, though, and even seeks $20,000 in sanctions against Cage.

One of Cage’s attorneys has argued that the protective order sought is “a very routine request to avoid having a videotape released to the media, put up on TMZ, put up on one of numerous websites for no purpose.”

The plaintiffs’ attorney has noted that his objection to the protective order is “more a philosophical one about whether celebrities have the ability to make sure that their depositions on everything are completely treated differently from that of the rest of the population.”

A decision on whether Cage’s deposition will be kept private should be made sometime this week before the next court date, Friday, December 7. For more discussion of the arguments in this case, check out the Hollywood Reporter’s excellent coverage.

What do you think? Should celebrity depositions always or never be private and not a matter of public record? Or should it go on a case-by-case basis?

* UPDATE: From the Venice-MarVista Patch: Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu, in an effort to “strike a balance” between Cage’s privacy rights and public access to court records, has issued an order forbidding “any written, audio or video proceedings from the deposition from being released to third parties, including the media.”

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December 5th, 2012 at 10:20 am