Actor Jim Carrey is set to face trial over the death of his Irish-born ex-girlfriend Cathriona White after a judge at Los Angeles Superior Court ruled on Wednesday that she would not dismiss the wrongful death case filed by White’s mother, Brigid Sweetman, and her estranged husband, Mark Burton.
Sweetman and Burton filed a lawsuit last year, accusing Carrey of illegally obtaining and supplying the drugs that White used to kill herself, My News LA reported. According to the lawsuit, Carrey obtained the drugs illegally and attempted to “conceal and obfuscate his involvement and culpability in Miss White’s untimely and tragic death.”
Sweetman and Burton also accused Carrey of infecting White with three STDs, according to the Telegraph. Sweetman alleged that Carrey’s agents put pressure on White not to talk about her STD-related health issues caused by Carrey. This caused White emotional pains during the period before she overdosed on drugs she allegedly obtained from Carrey.
Sweetman and Burton sued 55-year-old Carrey, demanding general damages, punitive damages, and funeral expenses. But Carrey’s lawyer filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the case.
White, a 30-year-old make-up artist from Ireland, was found dead in her Sherman Oaks home in Los Angeles in September of 2015, a few days after she broke up with Carrey. Post-mortem investigation found that she died from an overdose of a combination of prescription drugs, including Ambien, Percocet, and Propranolol. A coroner ruled her death as suicide.
Carrey, who attended White’s funeral in her Irish hometown of Tipperary, denied the allegations against him and said that the claim that he infected White with STDs and pressured her not to talk about it was “irrelevant” to the case. He said he did not give the prescription pills to White. According to Carrey, White stole the drugs. Carrey’s lawyer, Raymond Boucher, filed a motion requesting the judge to dismiss the case, labeling it as “predatory” and “malicious.”
Carrey supported the claim that he did not provide White with the drugs by referring to a text message he allegedly sent to White the night before she died. In the text message, Carrey reportedly asked White about a bottle of drugs that was missing from his bedroom. A bottle of painkillers found next to White’s bed was reportedly labeled “Arthur King,” believed to be Carrey’s pseudonym.
However, Judge Deirdre Hill of Los Angeles Superior Court ruled on Wednesday not to throw out the lawsuit by Sweetman and Burton. She said the case could go ahead and set a trial date for April 26, 2018. She estimated the trial would last about 20 days. But she emphasized that she had not taken her final decision on the case and that she needed more time to study it. This means there is still a slim chance that Carrey will not face trial.
Reacting to the judge’s decision, Carrey’s lawyer, Boucher, said Carrey would find the trial process distressing because he loved White and was devastated by her death.
Carrey, who achieved fame for his roles in movies such The Cable Guy, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber, had paid tribute to White after she died, describing her as a “delicate Irish flower.”
“She was a truly kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for this soil… We have all been hit with a lightning bolt.”
Following the judge’s decision, Boucher argued that the wrongful death claims against Carrey were too vague and that the allegations under the Drug Dealer Liability Act likely fall outside the statute of limitations.
Ahmed Ibrahim, the lawyer representing Sweetman and Burton, admitted that the case was not typical of cases under the Drug Dealer Liability Act. But he insisted that Boucher was wrong to say that the claims were vague.
“We are clearly not alleging that Jim Carrey was selling drugs out of the back of his pick-up truck, and was therefore not marketing or selling in the traditional sense of what that word would bring to mind,” he said.
Carrey had reacted at the time that the lawsuit was filed, saying that the claimants were trying to “profit from him.”
“What a terrible shame,” the Canadian actor said. “I will not tolerate this heartless attempt to exploit me or the woman I loved. Cat’s troubles were born long before I met her and sadly her tragic end was beyond anyone’s control.”
“I really hope that someday soon people will stop trying to profit from this and let her rest in peace.”
Carrey appeared on stage a few hours after the ruling to promote his new TV series, I’m Dying Up Here. The series is about a group of L.A. stand-up comedians struggling to make success in the 1970s.
[Featured Image by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images]