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Tommy Lee Wins Round in Helicopter Sexual Assault Lawsuit


A California judge dismissed a sexual assault lawsuit against Tommy Lee on Monday, but it’s not over. The judge said the Jane Doe plaintiff now has 20 days to try again with an amended complaint that will only survive if it includes new alleged facts showing there was “concerted effort” to conceal evidence the Mötley Crüe drummer sexually battered her in a helicopter cockpit in 2003.

The judge sided with Lee after the rocker’s lawyer argued that the decades-old claims didn’t qualify for revival under the law the Jane Doe plaintiff used when she filed her original lawsuit last December. The law, known as the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, requires that plaintiffs show that some type of “legal entity” engaged in a cooperative effort to hide evidence of their alleged sexual assault. (The one-year “lookback window” for filing claims under the law closed on December 31, 2023.)

In his comments to the court, Lee’s lawyer argued that Jane Doe wrote in her initial complaint that Lee was already famous for his “salacious and hedonistic conduct” at the time of the alleged helicopter attack. “That would obviate any ability for a coverup. You can’t have a coverup when the plaintiff alleges that this alleged ‘salacious’ conduct was known to everybody,” Lee’s lawyer A. Sasha Frid said.

“The court had its own questions about that,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Holly J. Fujie said in response. “However, this is officially our first look at the pleading, and we will almost always grant one opportunity to amend.”

In her written ruling, the judge said that the Jane Doe “failed to assert facts to support the ‘coverup’ requirement.” She also questioned whether the plaintiff will be able to show the necessary element that a legal entity covered Lee’s actions in 2003. Lee claims his company, Mayhem Touring Inc., was suspended in February 2002. The plaintiff, meanwhile, alleges Mayhem was merely delinquent, not suspended, so it was still an operable entity at the time of the underlying events.

Judge Fujie’s ruling provisionally dismissed all four causes of action in the lawsuit – sexual assault, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence – pending the submission of a new complaint. She ruled that if a future amended complaint “does not cure the defects” that she outlined, the court “will consider the sustaining of a demurrer thereto without leave to amend.”

“We applaud the court’s decision. The court got it right in finding that the plaintiff cannot assert a claim against Tommy Lee. From the outset, Mr. Lee has vehemently denied these false and bogus accusations,” Frid, said in a statement to Rolling Stone on Monday.

In her lawsuit, the Jane Doe plaintiff alleges she was lured onto a helicopter by pilot David Martz in 2003 under the guise that she was taking a “sightseeing trip.” She says Martz surprised her by picking up Lee as well. She claims that during a 40-minute trip from San Diego County to Van Nuys, Calif., Lee started to assault her, forcibly kissing and groping her in the tiny helicopter.

“At one point, Lee penetrated plaintiff with his fingers while fondling her breasts. Lee then pulled down his pants and attempted to force plaintiff’s head toward his genitals. By this point, plaintiff was in tears, but she had nowhere to go — she was trapped with little mobility to leave the cockpit,” the lawsuit alleges. The woman claims Martz “merely watched” the alleged assault and said nothing to her as they flew back to San Diego after dropping Lee in Van Nuys.

The plaintiff says she had no contact with Martz for several years but spoke to him briefly by phone in June 2009 when he called to catch up. (Martz died in a Cessna accident in August 2015.)

The woman says the alleged attack caused her “great shock, distress, humiliation, shame and guilt,” and that she didn’t report it because she believed it was an isolated event and that police wouldn’t take her seriously. She now believes Martz and Lee “had a history of engaging in indecent and illegal conduct on Martz’s helicopter,” her lawsuit says.


The complaint, filed by lawyers Neville Johnson, Douglas Johnson, and Melissa Eubanks, named Mayhem Touring, Tommy Lee Inc., A Natural High Helicopters and Social Helicopters as defendants. (Jane Doe later dismissed A Natural High Helicopters as a defendant.)

In a filing last month, Doe’s lawyers said they believe Lee was acting in a professional capacity the day of the alleged assault and that “well-known entertainment industry standards” dictate he would have been operating under a professional corporation such as Mayhem Touring or “another loan out company” at the time. The lawyers wrote that they could address this in an amended pleading. The lawyer who appeared for the plaintiff at the hearing Monday did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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