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Carrie Fisher’s brother sued by employee who suffered broken legs on his Creston ranch

Todd Fisher, pictured here in December 2014, operates a sound stage and production facility called Hollywood Motion Picture Experience at his ranch near Creston.
Todd Fisher, pictured here in December 2014, operates a sound stage and production facility called Hollywood Motion Picture Experience at his ranch near Creston. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The brother of “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher is being sued in San Luis Obispo Superior Court by an employee who said he suffered “devastating” leg fractures while on the job.

But the brother, Todd Fisher, said the employee was negligent and disregarded orders not to operate farm equipment “at any time.”

“The entire suit is nonsense,” Fisher said in an email to the Tribune.

Nathan Nolley filed suit Friday against Fisher, Fisher’s wife, actress and celebrity hypnotist Catherine Hickland Fisher, and their business, Freedom Farms, claiming the defendants failed to properly train workers and failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance, as required by state law.

Claims made in civil suits only represent one side.

According to the civil complaint, Nolley was working for Freedom Farms in Creston as a ranch manager April 24 when the following occurred: While working with a mechanical rotary rake, a co-worker negligently activated the machinery, causing the rotary arms of the rake to violently strike Nolley’s legs and pin him against a crossbar. Nolley suffered serious injuries in the accident, the complaint alleges, including “devastating fractures of both of his legs.”

At the time, the complaint alleges, the defendants did not carry workers’ compensation insurance and conspired to create a ruse that Nolley was employed by Hollywood Motion Pictures Experience, a motion picture production company Fisher owns in Creston. HMPE, the suit claims, is in the process of going bankrupt.

According to the suit, the defendants are liable for not providing workers’ compensation insurance, failing to implement safety procedures for the operation of Freedom Farms, failing to properly train the employees regarding safety and safety procedures, and for allowing untrained workers to operate machinery they were not qualified to work with.

Fisher said Nolley’s checks were made out by HMPE, and the accident resulted when Nolley did something a “child farm hand would know not to do.”

“His father, the ranch manager and our contractor specifically told him in a text prior to the accident not to touch the farm equipment,” Fisher wrote.

Fisher’s sister gained fame as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” films. Their father, Eddie Fisher, was a well-known actor and their mother, Debbie Reynolds, known for her role in “Singin’ in the Rain,” continues to act. Todd Fisher has a handful of small acting credits of his own, but he has spent most of his career behind the scenes as a camera operator, sound engineer, writer, director and producer.

He and his wife moved to San Luis Obispo County in 1988.

HMPE has state-of-the-art facilities in Las Vegas; Ennis, Mont.; and Creston, where it is located at Freedom Farms, situated on 44 acres of ranchland, according to a Tribune story published in March. In Creston, HMPE operates a 6,000-square-foot soundstage and has a 10,000-square-foot support building for offices, workshops, editing bays, a recording studio and wardrobe and prop departments.

In 1988, Fisher also built a film museum at Freedom Farms, though he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for that in 2009.

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