Ashley Judd Wins Appeal to Pursue Sexual Harassment Claim Against Harvey Weinstein

An appeals court ruled in the actress’ favor Wednesday, allowing her to pursue the claim against the disgraced movie mogul

Last Updated: July 29, 2020 @ 10:21 AM

Three judges ruled in actress Ashley Judd’s favor Wednesday, agreeing with her appeal and allowing her to pursue a sexual harassment claim against Harvey Weinstein.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling from a lower court that had dismissed her claim of sexual harassment on the grounds that she was not Weinstein’s employee at the time of the meeting she cites. But the appellate court found that he still held enough power over her career in entertainment at the time of the meeting in the 1990s for her to continue her claim.

Judge Mary H. Murguia cited an “inherent power imbalance” between the two when writing on behalf of the panel.

In that imbalance, “Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercion or leverage over Judd by virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood,” she wrote. “Therefore, the district court erred when it dismissed Judd’s sexual harassment claim.”

In 2018, Weinstein sought to have Judd’s case dismissed on the grounds that she waited too long to sue. Judd’s original complaint from earlier that year said she lost numerous lucrative acting opportunities after rebuking the mogul’s advances during their meeting at the Peninsula Hotel. Judd says she lost out on a part in “Lord of the Rings” after Weinstein told director Peter Jackson that the actress was difficult to work with. Weinstein has denied doing so.

“That is, by virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood, Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercive power or leverage over Judd, who was a young actor at the beginning of her career at the time of the alleged harassment,” wrote Murguia.

The case will go back to lower courts, where it will proceed on the harassment count as well as counts of retaliation and defamation.