Thursday Jul 30, 2020
A US court of appeals has ruled that actress Ashley Judd has the right to pursue her sexual harassment lawsuit against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
The court found that Weinstein, who is in prison, held power over the actress and her career when he invited her to his room in a luxury Los Angeles hotel in the mid-1990s.
The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed the lower court, which had thrown out the claim on the grounds that Judd was not Weinstein’s employee at the time of the meeting.
"Their relationship consisted of an inherent power imbalance wherein Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercion or leverage over Judd by virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood," wrote Judge Mary H. Murguia, for the panel. "Therefore, the district court erred when it dismissed Judd’s sexual harassment claim."
She brought the suit after Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson revealed in an interview that Miramax had discouraged him from casting Judd and Mira Sorvino, saying they could be a "nightmare to work with."
Judge Philip Gutierrez allowed Judd to proceed with the retaliation and defamation claims.
The case will now head back to the lower court and proceed on all claims. Theodore Boutrous, who represents Judd in the case, praised the ruling.
In February, Weinstein was convicted in New York City of committing third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act and later sentenced to 23 years in jail.