A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment claim against Harvey Weinstein but says the actress can still pursue other claims in her civil suit against the disgraced movie producer.
Judge Philip S. Gutierrez struck down Judd's sexual harassment claim against Weinstein in a ruling issued Wednesday, saying California’s sexual harassment law doesn’t apply to her case. The law was changed starting this year to specifically include directors and producers, but the judge said the change could not be applied retroactively.
Judd sued Weinstein in April last year, alleging harassment as well as defamation. The actress claimed Weinstein embarked on a smear campaign against her that resulted in her losing a role in the “Lord of the Rings” movies.
In September, the judge threw out Judd’s sexual harassment claim, saying the actress didn’t have a professional relationship at the time of the alleged incident. The court, however, allowed Judd to amend her complaint.
Judd’s attorney said Thursday the actress was looking forward to continuing with the case.
“Nothing about the court’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 Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
“While we respectfully disagree with the court’s decision as to the one claim it ruled on yesterday, we look forward to pursuing the three claims for relief that the court has already ruled can move forward.”
Judd intends to donate financial damages she receives to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.
Phyllis Kupferstein, a lawyer for Weinstein, praised Wednesday’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. “We believe that we will ultimately prevail on her remaining claims.”
Judd has alleged that Weinstein harassed her during a 1998 meeting in his room at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills. The actress claims Weinstein asked for a massage and then requested she watch him take a shower.
After rejecting his overtures, Judd says Weinstein embarked on a campaign against her, including making disparaging remarks about her to Peter Jackson, the director of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Jackson later confirmed that he removed Judd from consideration for the movies after meeting with Weinstein.
Judd was one of the first actresses to publicly accuse Weinstein of misconduct. Since then, the producer has been accused by more than 80 women of harassment and assault.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of unwanted sexual contact.