Law Review: Armed robbery gone bad during filming of ‘NCIS: New Orleans’
“NCIS: New Orleans” is a spinoff of the popular “NCIS” program on CBS. It has been on the air since 2014 but ended last fall, apparently to be replaced by “NCIS: Hawaii.” As a fan of New Orleans, I kind of liked the show.
FILMING OF AN ARMED ROBERY
Today’s lawsuit stems from the filming in 2017 of scenes depicting an armed robbery of a jewelry store. An actual jewelry store was chosen for the scene and two local actors were cast as robbers. They were given black costumes, including ski masks and realistic-looking weapons that look like assault rifles and other weapons.
As instructed, the two actors jumped out of a van brandishing their weapons and stormed into the jewelry store shouting their lines including demands for cash and jewelry. A concealed camera inside the store captured the scene.
WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ PERMITS
Unbeknownst to the plaintiffs/robbers, no one from CBS had obtained filming permits or informed local authorities of the filming. Nor was there a staff-member stationed outside the store to reassure neighbors or passersby that there wasn’t an actual robbery taking place. CBS apparently was shooting this scene “guerrilla-style.”
You know what happened next. A neighboring business owner saw the unmarked van and men in ski masks run in with guns and called 9-1-1 to report an armed robbery. The SWAT team from the Chalmette Police Department responded, with guns drawn, broke down the door, and warned the two “robbers” they would be shot if they did not drop their weapons. They were pushed to the ground, handcuffed, arrested and transported to jail even as they tried to explain they were filming a scene for NCIS. The robbery scene without the SWAT officers was aired by CBS in November 2017. It was viewed by approximately 8 million people and streamed by another 3 million viewers.
ROBBERS SUE CBS
The actors sued CBS for fraud, unjust enrichment and a few other things claiming they had post-traumatic stress disorder and had been black balled from acting by CBS for telling their story.
ROBBERS WERE ROBBED
The two robbers belatedly sued CBS in California because California had a longer statute of limitations – deadline to sue – than Louisiana where all the action took place. In a thorough analysis, the California Second Appellate District Court of Appeal concluded the lawsuit should have been filed in Louisiana, not California. As such Louisiana’s statute of limitations had run. The would-be robbers lost, but they have a story to tell.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at email@example.com or http://www.portersimon.com
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