Judge dismisses Judds Weinstein lawsuit

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46819044

Actress Ashley Judd at a conference in Beverly Hills, California, 30 April 2018Image copyright
Reuters

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Ashley Judd can still proceed with her claim that Harvey Weinstein tried to sabotage her career

Actress Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has been dismissed by a Los Angeles federal court.

Judge Philip Gutierrez ruled on Wednesday that Ms Judd’s allegations did not fall within the scope of the statute under which she had sued.

But Ms Judd’s defamation claim, that Mr Weinstein had sabotaged her career, may still proceed, the judge said.

Mr Weinstein denies all allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation.

Ms Judd’s sexual harassment lawsuit was re-filed following a change in California state law after her initial claim was rejected by Judge Gutierrez last September.

She alleges she rejected unwanted advances from him and he then tried to wreck her career.

But in a statement late on Wednesday, Judge Gutierrez said the law that deals with sexual misconduct claims in professional relationships, which was revised to include directors and producers, could not be applied retrospectively to Ms Judd’s case.

Mr Weinstein’s lawyer, Phyllis Kupferstein, welcomed the judge’s decision.

“We have said from the beginning that this claim was unjustified, and we are pleased that the court saw it as we did” she said in a statement, adding: “We believe that we will ultimately prevail on her remaining claims.”

However, Ms Judd’s claim that the Oscar-winning producer “blackballed” her after she refused his advances would still be heard, Judge Gutierrez said.

That part of her lawsuit states that “Weinstein used his power in the entertainment industry to damage Ms Judd’s reputation and limit her ability to find work”.

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Media captionJudd: I was not frightened of Weinstein

In 2017, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson said he had been considering Ms Judd for a role in the 2002 film but that she was “blacklisted” following conversations with the Weinstein Company.

He said that Mr Weinstein had warned him that the actress was a “nightmare” to work with.

Mr Weinstein, however, said he had no role in Mr Jackson’s casting and denied trying to derail Ms Judd’s career.

The producer still faces a separate, criminal case involving five allegations of sexual assault, including rape. His lawyers have argued that civil cases should not be heard until the criminal investigation is concluded.