Court papers allege Jim Carrey ‘complicit’ in Cathriona White’s death

Actor used wealth to obtain ‘deadly controlled substances’, claims case taken by estranged husband

Court papers alleging actor Jim Carrey’s “complicity” in the death of his Irish partner Cathriona White have set out detailed claims on how the Hollywood star attempted to “cover up” his involvement.

Mr Carrey is the subject of a legal action by Ms White's estranged husband Mark Burton alleging wrongful death and violation of the US Drug Dealer Liability Act.

Ms White (30) died of a drug overdose in September last year and the incident has led to claims she had taken medication illegally obtained by Mr Carrey under the pseudonym Arthur King.

"This is a case about defendant Jim Carrey using his immense wealth and celebrity status to illegally obtain and distribute highly addictive and, in this case deadly, controlled substances," papers filed with the Superior Court of the State of California set out.


Ms White, who came from Cappawhite, Co Tipperary, had been prone to depression and had previously attempted suicide, the document states. She died after ingesting a lethal cocktail of Ambien, Propranolol, and a "massive dose" of Percocet (Oxycodone) at her home in Sherman Oaks, California.

“In an effort to cover up his conduct and complicity in her death, Carrey sent a bogus text message on September 27th, 2015 (about three days after Ms White’s death) to White pretending as though he had misplaced the drugs and insinuating White may have taken them from Carrey without his knowledge, when in reality Carrey knew full well that he had voluntarily and illegally provided the fraudulently obtained and prescribed drugs to White days before,” the papers allege.

“Indeed the absurdity of Carrey’s claim that White took the drugs from Carrey without his knowledge is laid bare by the following question - if Carrey legitimately believed White had taken the drugs from him and she had subsequently gone missing for days with no contact, then why would Carrey not immediately request law enforcement to check on her wellbeing after she did not return his text?”

Below are extracts from a nine-page document filed by attorneys for Mark Burton with the Superior Court of California

Lawyers for Mr Burton then claim the defendant continued his “charade” by publicly offering to pay the funeral expenses but ultimately never “paying a cent”.

“Indeed Carrey and his handlers made considerable efforts to publicise his supposed generosity as it related to the death of White. They did so, on information and belief, in an effort to paint Carrey as a ‘grieving good guy’ as opposed to the individual who had illegally obtained and provided the drugs that killed White.”

“In reality, however, Carrey never paid a dime of funeral expenses. Instead, Carrey reneged on his promise after learning that White had left a minimal amount of money to her family,” the claim continued.

“Not surprisingly, he never informed the media of his broken promise and decision to stiff the family.”

The court documents paint an extremely negative picture of the actor, in one instance detailing his alleged attempts to monitor her movements through CCTV.

“As part of his obsession with controlling and manipulating White, Carrey had the ability to monitor surveillance cameras on a home White often stayed at and was able, by design, to view the residence remotely to keep track of White’s comings and goings.”

The papers describe Ms White’s death as “tragic and easily avoidable”, an incident that had had a debilitating and devastating impact on her family and friends.

Mr Burton is seeking general, economic and punitive damages as well as funeral expenses and fees for his attorneys and expert witnesses.

It cites the California Drug Dealer Liability Act, enacted to provide a civil remedy for damages to person injured as a result of the use of an illegal controlled substance.

An ex-parte request was to due to be filed for a pre-judgement attachment of Mr Carrey’s assets, including his Gulfstream V private jet, to provide for any reward ultimately handed down.

Ms White's mother, Brigid Sweetman, recently filed a separate civil action against Mr Carrey, for wrongful death. She will be represented by lawyer Michael Avenatti, who is also acting for Mr Burton.

Responding to Mr Burton’s lawsuit earlier, Jim Carrey said: “Is this the way a ‘husband’ honours the memory of his ‘wife?’ The real disease here is greed, shameful greed.”

His lawyer Martin Singer was not immediately available to The Irish Times for comment. However, he had previously said his client would not pay money to end "this opportunist's transparent shakedown lawsuit and this malicious case will be dismissed".

“Mr Carrey has suffered a great deal in the last year with the suicide of the woman he dearly loved, and it is outrageous that he should be subjected to this predatory lawsuit.”

He has also referred to Mr Burton has Ms White’s “green card husband”.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times