Ashley Judd Can Sue Harvey Weinstein for Sexual Harassment, Court Rules

The actress Ashley Judd can proceed with a sexual harassment declare as a part of a lawsuit in opposition to Harvey Weinstein, the film mogul imprisoned for intercourse crimes and a spotlight of the #MeToo motion, an appeals courtroom dominated on Wednesday.

A 3-judge panel of United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena, Calif., reversed a decrease courtroom’s dismissal of the sexual harassment part of Ms. Judd’s lawsuit, which she filed in April 2018 in opposition to Mr. Weinstein.

Ms. Judd, who is understood for her roles in “Double Jeopardy,” “Kiss the Girls” and “A Time to Kill,” accused Mr. Weinstein of undermining her film profession after she rejected his sexual advances within the late 1990s. She additionally sued Mr. Weinstein on claims of defamation and unfair enterprise practices.

But Ms. Judd’s authorized campaign hit a snag in January, when a U.S. District Court decide in Los Angeles dominated that she couldn’t declare sexual harassment below the legislation in California as a result of she didn’t have a particular enterprise relationship with Mr. Weinstein on the time that she stated that misconduct befell.

The decide’s interpretation of the state’s sexual harassment statute was rejected on Wednesday by the appeals courtroom.

“By virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood, Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercive power or leverage over Judd, who was a young actor at the beginning of her career at the time of the alleged harassment,” the judges wrote within the ruling. “Moreover, given Weinstein’s highly influential and ‘unavoidable’ presence in the film industry, the relationship was one that would have been difficult to terminate ‘without tangible hardship’ to Judd, whose livelihood as an actor depended on being cast for roles.”

Ms. Judd has declined to affix a class-action lawsuit that was introduced in opposition to Mr. Weinstein by dozens of girls who accused him of sexual misconduct. She has lengthy sought to have her day in courtroom.

“This is an important victory not only for Ms. Judd but for all victims of sexual harassment in professional relationships,” Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for Ms. Judd, stated in an electronic mail on Wednesday. “The court correctly holds that California law forbids sexual harassment and retaliation by film producers and others in powerful positions, even outside the employment context, and we look forward to pursuing this claim against Mr. Weinstein at trial.”

Phyllis Kupferstein, a lawyer for Mr. Weinstein, stated in a press release that her consumer can be vindicated of the accusations made by Ms. Judd.

“We are glad that both Ms. Judd and Mr. Weinstein will have their day in court, where we expect the truth will come to light,” she stated. “The most minimal investigation of the events will show that Mr. Weinstein neither defamed Ms. Judd, nor hindered or interfered with her career, and certainly never retaliated against her and indeed, had nothing to retaliate for.”

Ms. Kupferstein stated that Mr. Weinstein “fought” for Ms. Judd as his first selection for the lead function within the 1997 movie “Good Will Hunting” and organized for her to fly to New York to be thought of for the half. She didn’t get it.

Mr. Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in March after he was convicted of rape and criminal sexual assault in a separate criminal case in Manhattan.

Ms. Judd contends that Mr. Weinstein invited her to the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills in late 1996 or early 1997 to discuss movie roles, but instead of meeting in a public place, Mr. Weinstein summoned her to his room. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Weinstein, who was wearing a bathrobe, asked Ms. Judd for a massage and to watch him take a shower.

After Ms. Judd declined, she contends, she was passed over for major roles, including being cast in the “Lord of the Rings” films, which made $2.5 billion in ticket sales and earned 30 Oscar nominations.

Ms. Judd filed the lawsuit after the director and producer Peter Jackson came forward and said that he removed Ms. Judd from a “Lord of the Rings” casting list “as a direct result” of what he now thought was “false information” provided by Mr. Weinstein.

Ms. Judd’s lawsuit contends that Mr. Weinstein told Mr. Jackson and a producer that Mr. Weinstein had a “bad experience” with Ms. Judd and that she was “a nightmare to work with.”

Ms. Kupferstein said that Mr. Weinstein had no authority over the “Lord of the Rings” franchise and that Ms. Judd was cast in two of Mr. Weinstein’s projects, the 2002 film “Frida” and the 2009 film “Crossing Over.”

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