According to director and Evil Angel owner John Stagliano, ex-adult film performer Katie Summers has withdrawn her lawsuit against him as of last Friday.
In June 2013, Summers filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Stagliano and his corporate entities, claiming that she suffered damages from the defendants failing to inform her of Stagliano’s HIV positive status during the shooting of her scene in the Stagliano-directed Buttman’s Stretch Class 4 (2010).
Although Stagliano has been open about his condition since he was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1997, according to the lawsuit, it was not until August 2012 that Summers learned Stagliano’s status for the first time.
“Actors engaged in sexual contact during the productions of adult films in the state of California are as a matter of custom and practice, required to provide evidence of testing for HIV and are not allowed to engage in sexual contact if they have a test which indicates they are HIV positive,” the complaint alleged.
The scene in question, which is posted online at EvilAngel.com, features touching, but no genital-to-genital or oral-genital contact between Stagliano and Summers.
At no point in the movie does any part of Stagliano’s anatomy enter Summers’ body.
Aside from issues relating to notification of medical status, and consent, more fundamentally the lawsuit raised the matters of what constitutes a sexual performance, and whether the touching of the genitals of another with one’s hand constitutes sexual contact within the meaning of the law.
A rep for Evil Angel told TMZ that Stagliano’s touching of Summers in the scene was “the equivalent of shaking hands.”
Stagliano was represented by noted attorney Paul Cambria, who, along with Robert Corn-Revere and Louis Sirkin, currently represents Vivid Entertainment in its constitutional challenge to Los Angeles County’s mandatory condoms in porn law, Measure B. In 2010, that trio, along with adult industry attorney, Allan Gelbard, were responsible for the dismissal of obscenity charges against Stagliano, who had faced more than 30 years in prison and millions in fines after his indictment over the distribution of two DVDs and a trailer.
Summers’ suit against Stagliano went into forced arbitration, and the plaintiff had her deposition taken before she chose to pull the plug on the action.
“I think she made the right decision,” Cambria told TRPWL Monday. “She had no case. I took her testimony and when I was done I could not see any possible way for her to succeed.”
At the time of the suit’s filing, Stagliano’s wife Karen told AVN: “I believe that there is not a substantial case. John did not do anything that endangered anyone whatsoever, especially not this girl. I’ve seen the scene. There was no sexual contact that would do anything to warrant him having to have informed her of his condition.”
Summers’ lawyer, Robert Starr, admitted that his client is not HIV-positive — and while she didn’t have sexual intercourse with the director, he claimed Stagliano should have disclosed his condition nonetheless.
Summers’ complaint claimed she had suffered emotional distress based on her fear that one day she would develop HIV, however, as reported earlier this year on TRPWL, in October 2013, Summers tweeted the following:
TRPWL has reached out to Summers and her significant other, Rob Black, for comment.
UPDATE [11:00 pm PDT]: Rob Black has replied to TRPWL‘s request for comment:
“Yep it was withdrawn. I told you before we don’t talk about porn anymore it’s over, finished — leave that to you and South. With the court case still out there, then porn has to be talked about.”
Black went on to say that he and Summers are busy developing different projects, and when out “negotiating deals” they didn’t want to have a lawsuit against “a guy with AIDS” [sic] hanging over their heads: “[We] don’t need to be at meetings and have to explain AIDS man. Makes it seem that Katie got the AIDS and we don’t need that when we’re out and about. So your boy got a pass.”