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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of February 26 - March 4, 2003


Judge seals file in suit against Tom Hanks

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.

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.