Harvey Weinstein fails to get Ashley Judd lawsuit tossed out
The rule issued by Judge Philip Gutierrez allows Judd to proceed with the defamation and interference charges against Weinstein.
Harvey Weinstein's attempt at trying to throw out the lawsuit filed by Ashley Judd failed. In the said lawsuit, Judd accuses Weinstein of defaming her and also interfering with her ability to land a role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but a federal court judge has denied dismissing it.
The rule issued by Judge Philip Gutierrez allows Judd to proceed with her defamation and interference charges against Weinstein. However, they did throw out Judd's sexual harassment claim under the context of a 1990s encounter where Weinstein had allegedly attempted to physically assault her, stating that it doesn't fit the legal definition for workplace sexual harassment.
“We are very pleased that today the District Court held that Ashley Judd can proceed with her lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and continue her effort to vindicate the wrongs he committed against her among so many other women,” said Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., who is Judd’s attorney. “We are also pleased that the court gave us an opportunity to amend our complaint and present additional facts related to one of Ms. Judd’s claims.”
With repeated inquiries as to the limitations of the state sexual harassment statute at Wednesday’s hearing in downtown Los Angeles, Boutrous anticipated an amended complaint might be in the future. The Gibson Dunn partner promised such a new filing would contain a deep dive into “the nature of relationships in Hollywood in more detail.”
As per Deadline, "Judd filed a lawsuit against Weinstein in April, alleging that his pattern of retaliation, defamation, and sabotage against women who refused his sexual advances damaged her career." The outlet also reported that: "The suit’s claims partly hinge on the news reports about Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh wanting to cast Judd in their Lord of the Rings movies backed by Weinstein’s Miramax in 1998. In retaliation for Judd rebuffing Weinstein, he 'torpedoed Ms. Judd’s incredible professional opportunity,' when he told Jackson and Walsh that his studio had a ‘bad experience’ with Judd and that actress was a ‘nightmare’ to work with and should be avoided ‘at all costs.'"
Weinstein's lawyers tried to get the lawsuit discarded claiming that too much time has passed for her to bring a legal claim that seeks damages for allegedly ruining her career since she waited 20 years to file this lawsuit. They argued that "Judd could have asked, years ago, why she didn’t land the coveted role." But as per Judd, in her legal documents, she stated that she had learned about the damaging remarks from Weinstein from a "December 2017 interview with Jackson. She said she couldn’t have inquired about not being cast in the role, for fear of alienating the director and negatively affecting his willingness to work with her in the future."
Gutierrez also wrote: "Plaintiff has alleged that Jackson and Walsh would not have revealed the contents of their confidential conversation with Defendant had she asked them why she had not been cast. The Court finds this allegation plausible. Individuals often do not reveal the content of their confidential conversations, especially when the conversation is with a powerful figure who carries influence over them and includes derogatory information about the person inquiring about it.”
However, the defamation claims were allowed to proceed as Judd’s allegations “are sufficient to give rise to an inference of actual malice such that the common interest privilege cannot bar her claims at the motion to dismiss stage.” At the same time, Gutierrez also agreed with Weinstein’s attorneys that when the hotel encounter happened, Weinstein and Judd were not in a business relationship, strictly along the definition of the same by California statute, "despite her arguments about the power-dynamic and Weinstein’s influence. He did, however, leave open the possibility of amending the harassment complaint," notes the outlet.