A federal appeals court restored a large part of Ashley Judd's lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday, finding that the producer had power over the actor, which should allow her to sue sexual harassment under a California law.
A three-judge panel of the 9th US Court of Appeals ruled that Judd could pursue both parts of her lawsuit against Weinstein. A judge at the lower court rejected her allegations of sexual harassment, but did not affect her claim to defamation.
Judd filed the lawsuit in 2018, alleging that when the producer met at a Beverly Hills hotel in late 1996 or early 1997, he tried to force her to watch him shower and massage him, and then referred her to " Nightmare "smeared. to work after she refused him.
Judd's lawyers had sued Weinstein under a California law that prohibits sexual harassment by anyone other than a professional employer, including teachers and landlords.
The court agreed that the law could apply to situations like Judd's when it was related to Weinstein but did not work for him.
"Weinstein was in a unique position to use force or influence over Judd, who was a young actor at the beginning of her career at the time of the alleged harassment," US District Judge Mary Murguia wrote in the statement The Influential and "Inevitable" Presence in the film industry was a relationship that would have been difficult for Judd, whose livelihood as an actor depended on to be cast for roles, "without tangible harshness". "
Judd's lawyers, when filing the lawsuit, made it clear that she was partially suing to extend the application of the Hollywood predatory law and praised Wednesday's 9th Circle decision.
"This is an important victory not only for Ms. Judd, but for all victims of sexual harassment in professional relationships," said Judd's lawyer Theodore Boutrous Jr. in a statement. "The court rightly believes that California law prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation through film." Producers and others in powerful positions, also outside the employment context, and we look forward to hearing this allegation against Mr. Weinstein in court. "
An email asking for a comment from Weinstein's lawyer Phyllis Kupferman was not returned immediately. Kupferman previously said that Weinstein did not hurt Judd's career, but promoted it and approved it for roles in two of his films.
The verdict comes two weeks after a New York judge denied a $ 19 million settlement between Weinstein and many women who sued him for sexual misconduct. Judd was not involved in the proposed agreement.
The 52-year-old star of "Kiss The Girls" and "Double Jeopardy" was one of the women who told their Weinstein stories to the New York Times and the New Yorker in 2017, making the #MeToo movement a global phenomenon.
She sued Weinstein the following year after director Peter Jackson said in an interview that Weinstein had warned him against working with Judd when he considered her for the Lord of the Rings films.
The lawsuit had been stayed pending Weinstein's criminal trial in New York, where the 68-year-old producer was convicted of rape and sexual assault against two women. In Los Angeles, he faces similar charges.
Weinstein has repeatedly denied engaging in non-consensual sexual activities.