Weinstein’s Companies, Directors, Officers Off the Hook for Sexual Misconduct Claims

By | April 23, 2019

Harvey Weinstein’s former companies and their officers and directors were dismissed from a federal lawsuit filed by 10 women, who claim the firms and executives aided the alleged sexual misconduct that led to the movie mogul’s ouster.

The women — actors and screenwriters who claim they were assaulted or mistreated by Weinstein after meeting with him for auditions or to pitch projects — sued in December 2017, alleging Weinstein Co., its officers and directors and Miramax, the studio Weinstein formerly ran, enabled his conduct.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein on Thursday threw out most of the suit’s claims, including those alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, leaving only one of many claims to remain against Harvey Weinstein himself, for violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

“We agree with the court’s decision to dismiss the majority of the complaint against Mr. Weinstein,” Elior Shiloh, an attorney for Harvey Weinstein, said in a statement. “As to the remaining claim, we disagree with the court sustaining the claim and we will explore all options with respect to having the claim dismissed.”

Hellerstein said that while Weinstein Co. “undoubtedly benefited” from Harvey Weinstein’s employment through revenue from his movies and influence, it did so in spite of his alleged predatory acts, “which caused many women not to work with TWC, diverted company resources towards supervision of H. Weinstein and away from business activities and exposed TWC to potential liability.”

The suit “does not allege that H. Weinstein secured TWC’s alleged complicity in his sexual violence as a condition of his employment,” said Hellerstein, whose ruling echoed that of late U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet. Sweet allowed a separate suit against Weinstein, filed by an aspiring actress, to proceed on similar grounds in August.

“In fact, H. Weinstein’s employment agreements made conviction for such an offense grounds for termination.”

Weinstein Co. was sold out of bankruptcy last year to Lantern Capital Partners for about $440 million, including debt. Under the arrangement, Harvey Weinstein himself won’t profit from the new venture.

The case is Geiss v. Weinstein Co., 17-cv-09554, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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