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A federal judge on Wednesday permitted a former child model to drop his lawsuit accusing of X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing him about 15 years ago. However, The Associated Press reports the door was left open for the plaintiff to refile later if he chooses.
Michael Egan III said in court documents filed previously in Honolulu that his motion to dismiss “has little to do with the strength of [Singer’s] defense, but rather, it is a consequence of the current circumstances regarding my case, my lack of legal counsel, and my inability to proceed in this matter acting on my own behalf.” His former attorney, Jeff Herman, asked to be removed from the case in May, saying their relationship had deteriorated.
Egan sued Singer in April, claiming that in 1999, when he was 17, the filmmaker gave him alcohol and drugs, and sexually assaulted him at estates in Hawaii and California. Singer denied the accusations. The plaintiff, now 31, quickly followed with lawsuits against former Disney executive David Neuman, former television executive Garth Ancier and Broadway producer Gary Goddard, only to drop them last month.
The lawsuits were permitted under a 2012 Hawaii law that amended the state’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse civil cases, opening a two-year window to file complaints involving incidents that occurred many years earlier. That opportunity ended in late April.
Singer sought to have Egan’s lawsuit dismissed with prejudice, meaning it couldn’t be refiled, and to have the plaintiff pay his legal fees. But U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway denied the request, saying in her order, “Any alleged damage to defendant’s reputation may well be ameliorated by plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of the action.”
Still, the filmmaker’s attorney Marty Singer said his client is pleased with the judge’s decision. “Although we would have liked the case dismissed on merits, the fact that now it’s dropped … is satisfactory,” he told The AP. “We’re pleased that it’s over.”
Vince Finaldi, an attorney advising but not representing Egan, wouldn’t indicate what he might do next. “I’ve got to leave a little bit of cliff-hanger here,” Finaldi told The AP.
Singer, who’s collaborating with Simon Kinberg, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris on the screenplay for X-Men: Apocalypse, is also expected to direct the Fox sequel.