Ashley Judd can move forward with defamation lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, judge says

A California judge on Wednesday granted Harvey Weinstein’s request to dismiss actress Ashley Judd’s claims of sexual harassment, but Judd was empowered to continue her lawsuit against Weinstein, claiming defamation and blacklisting.

Judd’s sexual harassment claim was brought under a California state statute that prohibits sexual harassment by a defendant who is in a “business, service, or professional relationship” with the plaintiff. Weinstein argued that at the time of the alleged hotel room encounter, during which Judd said he sexually harassed her, the two of them were not in a business, service, or professional relationship.

The judge disagreed with Judd’s argument that her relationship with Weinstein at the time was “substantially similar” to the business or professional relationships expressed in the statute.

“For the foregoing reasons, [Weinstein’s] motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part,” U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez wrote in a court filing. “The court dismisses [Judd’s] second cause of action for sexual harassment in violation of California Civil Code § 51.9. [Judd] may proceed on her claims for defamation, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and violation of the [unfair competition law].”

Judd does have an opportunity to file an amended complaint for her sexual harassment claim. A lawyer for Judd said on Wednesday that they were happy with the court’s decision and will move forward with the lawsuit.

“We are very pleased that today the District Court held that Ashley Judd can proceed with her lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and continue her effort to vindicate the wrongs he committed against her among so many other women,” Judd’s lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr. said in a statement. “We are also pleased that the court gave us an opportunity to amend our complaint and present additional facts related to one of Ms. Judd’s claims.  We will move forward immediately with discovery, including Mr. Weinstein’s deposition, and look forward to proving to a jury at trial that Mr. Weinstein defamed Ms. Judd, interfered with her ability to earn a living, and engaged in unlawful business practices.  The law should not tolerate this abuse of power to damage another’s career. “

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UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2016/03/15: Ashley Judd speaks with the press. Ashley Judd and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin spoke at a press briefing regarding Ms. Judd's appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Ashley Judd attends the APNE Aap dinner on September 21, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by CJ Rivera/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Ashley Judd arrives to The Paley Center For Media's 11th Annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews Los Angeles at The Paley Center for Media on September 16, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 25: Ashley Judd and Keke Palmer of EPIX 'Berlin Station' pose for a portrait during the 2017 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 25, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Smallz & Raskind/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Ashley Judd speaks at the rally at the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
Hollywood actress and social activist Ashley Judd looks in the Humanitarian Award 2016 at the KISS (Kalinga Institute of Social Science) in the eastern Indian city Bhubaneswar on Thursday, 09 February 2017. KISS institute give the Humanitarian Award for the year 2016 to Ashley Judd. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 30: American actress Ashley Judd during a press conference on Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls at India International Centre, Lodhi Estate on January 30, 2017 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Shivam Saxena/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Debi Mazar and Ashley Judd attend the rally at the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Actress Ashley Judd attends the Busboys and Poets' Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance at National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Busboys and Poets)
US actress Ashley Judd attends the opening of the 'Safe Birth Even Here' campaign on May 23, 2016 during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. Many aid groups have become 'big bureaucracies' and need help to slim down in order to help the growing number of people in need, a key EU commissioner said on May 24. A so-called 'Grand Bargain' launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul aims to make aid more effective by reducing the bureaucracy of aid groups and keeping down the demands of donors on them in return. / AFP / POOL / VELI G�GAH (Photo credit should read VELI GURGAH/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 27: Actress Ashley Judd attends The Creative Coalition's Benefit Gala Featuring Fergie at The Electric Factory on July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 11: Actress Ashley Judd watches the Kentucky Wildcats during the first half of an SEC Tournament Quarterfinal game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bridgestone Arena on March 11, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Actress Ashley Judd and Executive Director of UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin attend the 2015 Social Good Summit at 92Y on September 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Ashley Judd, Ambassador, Population Services International attends the Breakout Session: The Economic Implications of Gender-Based Violence during the first day of the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative's Annual Meeting at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on September 26, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Actress Ashley Judd attends a photocall for 'Big Stone Gap' at Ace Hotel on September 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Ashley Judd and Jenna Elfman attend the 'Big Stone Gap' New York Screening at Sunshine Landmark on September 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Zak Photography/Getty Images)
Ashley Judd attends the '2015 CFDA Fashion Awards' red carpet arrivals at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. ?? LAN (Photo by Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images)
Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, left, and actress Ashley Judd, center, attend the Bloomberg Vanity Fair White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner afterparty in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The 101st WHCA raises money for scholarships and honors the recipients of the organization's journalism awards. Photographer: Drew Angerer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Actress Ashley Judd attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Ashley Judd attends the 2015 Moves Power Forum at Red Door Spa on April 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
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In mid-July, Weinstein sought to have Judd’s case dismissed on the grounds that she waited too long to sue. Judd’s original complaint from April said she lost numerous lucrative acting opportunities after rebuking the mogul’s advances in the 1990s.

Among them, Judd says she lost out on a part in “Lord of the Rings” after Weinstein told director Peter Jackson that Judd was difficult to work with. Weinstein has denied doing so.

Judd was the first actress to be named on the record with her account of Weinstein’s widely alleged predation over the decades. Speaking with the New York Times, Judd described an incident in the ’90s where she said Weinstein asked to massage her in a hotel room and pressured her to watch him shower during a meeting.

She said she remembered thinking: “How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?”

The Times report said other accusers generally received between $80,000 and $150,000 in payouts each to make accusations go away. Judd was not one of the women who received a settlement, the report said.

Weinstein has consistently denied any instance of nonconsensual sex. In the subsequent time since the article’s publication, Judd has been a prominent face of the #MeToo and Time’s Up equity movements.

Read original story Ashley Judd Can Move Forward With Defamation Lawsuit Against Harvey Weinstein, Judge Says At TheWrap

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