Judge: Man Can Proceed With Assault Case Against `Grandma's Boy' Actor

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SANTA MONICA (CNS) - A man who alleges Peter Dante said he was a "sissy," had a "Jew nose" and chased him around a Santa Monica restaurant in 2022 can proceed with his lawsuit against the actor, a judge has ruled.

Plaintiff Scott Burns' Santa Monica Superior Court lawsuit alleges elder abuse, assault, defamation-slander and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. An attorney for the 54-year-old "Grandma's Boy" actor filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that Burns' allegations were too vague.

But in a ruling Thursday, Judge H. Jay Ford III said the lawsuit does not need further clarifications.

"(Dante) fails to articulate why these allegations are insufficient to state plaintiff's alleged causes of action based on applicable law," the judge worte. "Merely stating that plaintiff fails to allege the elements of the claim is insufficient. In addition, it is clear from plaintiff's allegations what wrongdoing is alleged against (Dante)."

Burns is in his late 60s. His suit states that on Jan. 3, 2022, at about 5:15 p.m., he went to Lares, a Mexican food restaurant on Pico Boulevard where he regularly dines. Burns, who has heart disease, entered through the back door due to management's COVID-19 safety protocols and was directed to his table after his temperature was taken and he showed his vaccination card, the suit states.

Dante was "purposefully blocking" the area Burns needed to pass through and although the plaintiff excused himself, a visibly drunk Dante began "verbally assaulting" him, according to the suit brought in January 2022.

Dante then began asking Burns invasive and personal questions in a menacing tone, and called the plaintiff's answers "stupid," the suit states.

"Plaintiff was humiliated in the small space in front of the staff whom he knows well and the other diners," the suit states.

Dante, who allegedly ignored Burns' requests to stop talking to him, called the plaintiff a "sissy" and asked if he was going to do anything about it, but Burns responded that he did not want to fight, according to the suit.

Dante made antisemitic remarks about Burns' appearance, saying he was an "old Jew" with a "Jew nose," the suit alleges.

Dante later approached Burns' table and stood over the plaintiff in a threatening manner, leaving Burns feeling he was about to be attacked, the suit states. When Burns told a waiter he was leaving, Dante yelled, "See sissy running away," according to the suit.

Dante chased Burns around a large table and the plaintiff was able to call the police, telling the operator to stay on the phone with him because he feared for his safety, the suit states.

The restaurant owner's daughter approached and kept Dante away from Burns, then told the actor, "Pay your bill and get out. You're out of here," the suit states.

Dante eventually left. Burns, who felt humiliated and believes his reputation was damaged, has continued to have nightmares as well as a feeling of apprehension when he is in public places, especially while visiting Lares, according to the suit.

In his court papers, Dante's attorney stated that the encounter began with Burns touching and verbally assaulting Dante, making the plaintiff the "instigator and aggressor" and giving the actor the right to defend himself.

Dante further alleges the confrontation happened "in the heat of the moment" and ended amicably with both parties finishing their meal, the actor's lawyer also states in his court papers.

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