Judge seals file in suit against Tom
By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer
Fifth District Court Judge
James May has prohibited public access to the contents of a lawsuit filed by
Storey Construction against Hollywood couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.
The suit was filed Jan. 6
over an alleged $1.75 million debt for work done on the couple’s new house
north of Ketchum.
May’s clerk, Andy Wayment,
said May had ordered the file sealed but declined to say when or why he did so,
or whether a court hearing was held on the subject. However, May’s decision
could be related to security concerns raised by Wilson and Hanks, and by the
fact that the case began to attract attention from national media after a story
appeared in the Idaho Mountain Express on Jan. 29. During a court hearing Jan.
24, the couple’s attorney, Ned Williamson, said the construction contract had
provided for confidential, binding arbitration in the event of a dispute.
Before the file was sealed,
Storey’s attorney, Miles Stanislaw, filed a brief opposing such an action. The
brief contended that unpaid subcontractors and suppliers for the construction
job have a right to know how the suit is progressing.
"The mere fact that Mr.
Hanks is a celebrity does not and should not entitle him to special treatment
that would not be afforded to a local insurance broker, school teacher, dentist,
mechanic, store clerk, rancher or ski instructor that was sued for collection of
a debt," the brief stated.