Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced serial sexual harasser, is proving to be a slippery lawsuit defendant. The ex-movie mogul dodged a serious claim in Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment lawsuit because of a loophole in the law that has since been closed.
Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles ruled Wednesday that the actress’s sexual harassment claim does not fall within the scope of a California statute.
Gutierrez said the producer/actress relationship was not covered at the time she filed her case, according to gossip site TMZ.
The law was changed last year to cover such relationships. But the judge ruled yesterday (Jan. 9) the change could not be applied retroactively.
But the judge left standing three other allegations: defamation, economic interference and unfair competition, according to Judd’s lawyer.
“Nothing about today’s ruling changes that Ms. Judd’s case is moving forward on multiple claims seeking millions of dollars in damages from Mr. Weinstein to punish his egregious misconduct,” said Judd’s lawyer Theodore Boutrous Jr.
The 50-year-old actress charged she lost out on a part in “The Lord of the Rings” after she rejected the shamed mogul’s advances.
Rings Director Peter Jackson said in an interview that Weinstein’s firm, Miramax, discouraged him from hiring Judd and actress Mira Sorvino, claiming they were a “nightmare to work with.”
Harvey Weinstein lawyers argued the “Divergent” star had “filed this action 20 years too late. ” The alleged incident occurred in 1998.
As well as not meeting the statute of limitations, his lawyers argued the single incident was not “pervasive or severe” enough to amount to sexual harassment.
Judd’s lawyers called Weinstein’s arguments seeking to escape the consequences of his misconduct “baseless” and “offensive.”
“We look forward to opposing his flawed motion, moving forward with discovery into his outrageous behavior, and proving to a jury that Mr. Weinstein maliciously damaged Ms. Judd’s career because she resisted his sexual advances,” they countered.
In the original filing, Judd accused Weinstein of “retaliating” after she spurned the producers sexual advances.
“The pathetic reality, however, was that Weinstein was retaliating against Ms. Judd for rejecting his sexual demands approximately one year earlier, when he cornered her in a hotel room under the guise of discussing business.”
Harvey Weinstein “used his power in the entertainment industry to damage Ms. Judd’s reputation and limit her ability to find work.”
The suit was seeking an order to prevent Weinstein from “engaging in further retaliatory conduct towards” her, an injunction against Weinstein to “cease engaging in unfair competition” and legal costs.
Judd was pivotal outing Weinstein as a serial sexual abuser, but, oddly, she never mentioned the producer in her best-selling 2011 memoir, detailing the rapes and sexual abuse she suffered in her life.
She named Weinstein as the assailant in a lengthy New York Times expose on Weinstein’s reign of alleged sex terror in Hollywood.
Dozens of women have accused the co-founder of Miramax, and The Weinstein Company of everything from sexual harassment to rape.
In her bombshell memoir, “All That Is Bitter and Sweet,” Judd she was repeatedly raped as a child and suffered deep psychological scars that have taken years to overcome.
The 66-year-old mogul is facing criminal assault charges in New York City involving the rape of an unidentified female acquaintance in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.
He denies all allegations claiming the sexual acts were consensual.
Judd told The Times she met alone in Weinstein’s hotel room for what was supposed to be a business meeting. But Weinstein quickly changed the subject.
He asked if he could give her a massage and when she said “no,” he asked her if she could give him one. She refused.
To get out of the situation, she said she promised to have sex with him after she won an Oscar for one of his films. He backed off and she fled, she said.