GOOD MORNING: Eric Douglas now has court OK to seek punitive damages in his multi-million-$ suit vs. Dr. William Leader and the Leader Medical Group. The motion for Douglas, 45, to add the claim for punitive damages (Civil Code Section 3294 and Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.13) was granted June 11 to the complaint which was originally filed May 16, 2001. Douglas was under Leader’s care from April 1996 to July of 1999. The complaint, leading to the approval to seek punitive damages notes Leader prescribed 105 tablets of Xanax on Jan. 11, 1999. Two days later, he provided Eric with prescriptions for 315 Xanax tablets plus 189 Vicodin tablets and 63 Halcion tablets plus other medications. And just 13 days later, on Jan. 26, Leader prescribed 105 more tablets of Xanax, more Vicodin ES and 21 tablets of Halcion. And Feb. 5, he issued three prescriptions on the same day for 163 more Vicodin, 210 tablets of Klonopin — a sedative similar to Halcion — and 90 tablets of Lomotil, another sedative. (Please note these numbers were not denied by the defendant!) In February and March 1999, Leader issued multiple prescriptions to Eric for the above and April 1, 1999, Eric was admitted to Cedars-Sinai for emergency treatment of possible drug overdose which resulted in cardiac arrest. He suffers severe disabilities and is now unable to work. Eric, through his family’s counsel Neil Papiano, filed for general damages and now is able to add punitive damages. Eric’s case has been mostly downplayed and/or ignored by friends in the press in deference to the pain and suffering both he and his parents Kirk and Anne Douglas have endured over the years. But now, Anne told me she is anxious the truth be known so that others may be saved from a similar fate. “The satisfaction about forewarning others is enough reason for me to make it public.” I spoke to her shortly after she received the Jefferson Award at the Kennedy Center Wednesday for “greatest public service by a private citizen.” Other recipients were Condolezza Rice, Mathilde Krim and Matthew Meyer. Kirk, who received a similar honor in 1983, was at her side. Jack Valenti, who made the presentation to Anne, dinner-partied the Douglases last night at the D.C. MPAA h.q.
ADD POSSIBLE LEGAL ACTION: On Tuesday, Colin Callender enthused about HBO’s in-production feature, “The Life and Times of Peter Sellers” with Geoffrey Rush as Sellers plus an all-star supporting cast including John Lithgow playing Blake Edwards who directed Sellers in six “Pink Panther” films. Edwards tells me he’s seen the script and calls its portrayal of him, “derogatory and dishonest.” And further, “We’ve (attorneys) notified them we reserve the right to take action.” I will also reserve my reaction to their portrayals, having been on the sets several times when Edwards was directing Sellers. On the happier side for Blake is his progress on the book of the B’way-bound musical version of “The Pink Panther” with Alan and Marilyn Bergman tuning. Edwards says “We have all the money for it.” And financing’s also in place (with Mark Damon’s banner) for Blake’s script of “10-Again,” the 2004 version of his classic 1979 film starring Julie Andrews and Dudley Moore and catapulting Bo Derek into stardom. No casts are yet set for either … I was seated next to Edwards’ daughter Jennifer as we watched her daughter, his granddaughter Hannah, 10, dance with the sensaysh Debbie Allen Dance Academy Dancers in Music Center’s Club 100 “Distinguished Artist” Awards at the BevWilshire. Allen’s (and Norm Nixon’s) daughter Vivian, 19, was another of the talented youngsters. Honorees of the evening were John Ritter, John Williams, Dustin Hoffman and Cyd Charisse in the program produced by Gregory Willenberg. And the funds used to fulfill the Music Center’s mission of providing the arts and arts education for children. Also performing were young musicians Zane Carney, Tommy King and Dominic Thiroux proving “The A Train” is still jazzy … Hoffman starts this week David O. Russell’s comedy “I Love Huckabee’s” with Lily Tomlin as his wife. They’re a pair of “existential detectives’ spying on Jason Schwartzman, Catherine Deneuve, Jude Law, Naomi Watts and Mark Wahlberg. Hoffman hopes to start his directing-acting stint on Scott Turow’s “Personal Injuries” later this year. It’s no longer at Disney.
HOLLYWOOD’S WALK OF FAME recipients for 2004 from chairman Johnny Grant: movies, Halle Berry, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Patty Duke, Anthony Hopkins, Brooke Shields, John Singleton and Hans Zimmer; TV, Steve Edwards, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen, Ted Turner, Cindy Williams; recording, Jose Jose, Journey, Nancy Sinatra, Britney Spears; theater/live performances, Mickey Rooney (he has three — movies, TV and radio ) and Jan Rooney; radio, Pepe Barreto, posthumous Dr. Seuss and Ethel Waters … Wolfgang Puck, already in the food markets with his brand of pizzas and soup, now adds Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Latte, partnered with Bob Groux. The four flavors of the coffee come in an old-fashioned milk bottle. Among those at Spago (natch) sampling the new arrival were Julie Haggerty, Red Buttons, Charles Fleischer, Ed Marino, Buzz and Lois Aldrin, Anne and Arnold Kopelson and Barbara Lazaroff … Lionel Chetwynd receives an honorary degree from Columbia College, Hollywood, and delivers the commencement address June 29 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Blossom Room … Lou Lenart, captain (ret.) of the Marine Corps and Israel Air Force, is honored tonight at the Proud Bird restaurant & Air Force Aviation Collection. Lenart, a hero of both services, also produced the “Iron Eagle I” and “Iron Eagle II” pix.