The decision of the 9th Court of Appeal has ramifications that go beyond Judd's individual case.
A federal court will allow actress Ashley Judd to continue a sexual harassment lawsuit against shameful film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The New York Times reports that Judd's lawsuit had previously been dismissed by a lower court. On Wednesday, a three-judge panel from the 9th District Court of Appeals ordered a reversal and said Judd's lawsuit could go as planned.
Judd, the Times says, has accused Weinstein of trying to sabotage her acting career. In her lawsuit, Judd claimed that Weinstein tried to prevent her from getting new roles after she refused his sexual progress.
But Judd's allegation was bound – apparently indefinitely – in January after the Los Angeles District Court judge determined that the actress was not authorized to sue Weinstein for sexual harassment because she had no "specific business relationship" at the time of the alleged misconduct. had taken place with the producer.
However, the Ninth Circuit Court expressly rejected this judge's interpretation of the California law on sexual harassment and misconduct.
Harvey Weinstein in 2014. Image via Wikimedia Commons / User: Georges Biard. (CCA-BY-3.0).
"Because of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood, Weinstein was in a unique position to force Judd, a young actress to start her career at the time of the alleged harassment," wrote the judges. "Given Weinstein's influential and inevitable presence in the film industry, it was also difficult to end the relationship with Judd, whose livelihood as an actor depended on being cast for roles."
Judd, the New York Times adds, has long tried to continue her individual lawsuit against Weinstein, particularly refusing to join a class action lawsuit composed of dozens of other women who claim Weinstein has sexually assaulted or harassed her.
Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a lawyer at Judd, emailed the New York Times that the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court was important.
"This is an important victory not only for Ms. Judd, but for all victims of sexual harassment in professional relationships," wrote Boutrous Jr. powerful positions outside the employment context, and we look forward to hearing this claim against Mr. Weinstein in court. "
Judd, Reuters adds, explicitly accused Weinstein of preventing director Peter Jackson from being cast in The Lord of the Rings.
A Weinstein lawyer claimed her client's longstanding position that Weinstein Judd – or other women – had never been wrong.
"We are pleased that both Ms. Judd and Mr. Weinstein will have their day in court where we expect the truth to come out," said lawyer Phyllis Kupferstein in a statement. "The most minimal investigation into the events will show that Mr. Weinstein neither defamed Ms. Judd nor hindered or disturbed her career, and certainly never retaliated against her and in fact had nothing to avenge her for."
According to Reuters, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison by a New York court after being convicted of rape and sexual assault.
Ashley Judd can sue Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment
The court revives Ashley Judd's sexual harassment case against Harvey Weinstein