Bing claims bounced

Judge tosses extortion suit against Penn

A judge Tuesday threw out extortion claims filed against actor Sean Penn by producer Steve Bing in connection with Bing’s feature film project “Why Men Shouldn’t Marry.”

In February, the pair filed dueling lawsuits. Penn accused Bing of reneging on an oral pay-or-play deal under which Penn would be paid $10 million to star in the film. Penn accused Bing of backing out of the deal after the actor aired his anti-war views on CNN’s “Larry King Live” while the Iraq war was in the planning stages.

In his $15 million suit, Bing claimed Penn never intended to make the movie, but planned to shake down Bing via a pay-or-play deal. In an attempt to meet Penn’s demands, Bing claimed, he spent millions of dollars, including hiring Woody Allen to co-star and work on the script.

In Tuesday’s ruling, L.A. Superior Court Judge Irving Feffer dismissed Bing’s civil extortion and negligent misrepresentation claims. In an earlier ruling, he dismissed Bing’s attempted extortion and unfair competition claims.

Bing’s attorney, Marty Singer, downplayed the significance of the court’s ruling, saying it was contrary to other decisions on extortion claims and claiming the only practical effect it would have on the case was that punitive damages were no longer available.