Weinstein victims to get $17.1 million in bankruptcy settlement
Nearly a year after Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and three years after his embattled movie studio declared bankruptcy, a judge on Monday confirmed a settlement plan that would pay $17.1 million to many of the women who have accused the ex-mogul of sexual misconduct.
The $35 million liquidation plan approved by a U.S. bankruptcy judge also includes a $9.7 million disbursement to cover a portion of the legal bills incurred by Weinstein Co.'s former officers and directors.
Another $8.4 million would go to a liquidation trust for resolving nonsexual misconduct claims.
Weinstein sex-abuse settlement rejected by federal judge
The settlement closes an often rancorous and prolonged chapter in the Weinstein litigation saga that saw various proposals scuttled and litigants opt out, all while the initial fund for accusers dwindled.
New York-based Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy in March 2018 and later sold of most of its assets to private equity firm Lantern Capital Partners for $289 million.
“We’ve worked closely with many survivors of Harvey Weinstein who desired a resolution that would provide a safe and confidential process for recovery, and today we’re proud to share that the bankruptcy court approved a plan that provides just such a process,” said Elizabeth A. Fegan, an attorney representing the class-action plaintiffs, in a statement.
“This bankruptcy plan guarantees that Harvey Weinstein’s survivors will have the opportunity to be heard in a safe and confidential process,” she added. “Although there will never be enough compensation or redress to right these wrongs, we’re immeasurably honored to represent our brave and resilient clients who, in the face of adverse rulings, continued to advocate for a fund for all survivors.”
In July, a federal judge rejected a proposed settlement between the disgraced mogul and nine women who said he sexually assaulted or abused them.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in New York declined to consent to the $18.9 million settlement in part because the agreement tried to include claims by women who asked to be excluded from the deal. He said the proposed settlement unfairly included women who simply met Weinstein, in addition to those who were sexually assaulted by him.
Weinstein attorney Imran H. Ansari of Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, P.C. defended the settlement.
“The practical reality is that outside the settlement the plaintiffs face an uncertain financial recovery, with The Weinstein Company bankrupt, and Mr. Weinstein, who denies the claims against him, with a current and future financial state that is far from healthy. Those yelling loudly seem to ignore, for whatever reason, that many parties have wanted this settlement to succeed.”
Many women and activists have publicly opposed the plan, denouncing it as offering inadequate compensation to the victims while enabling Weinstein and the directors of his namesake company to evade accountability or liability.
“We look forward to continuing to fight on behalf of survivors who seek to hold Harvey Weinstein and his corporate enablers accountable,” said attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, who have opted out of the settlement on behalf of seven women who allege they were abused by Weinstein, in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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