Ashley Judd WILL be able to move forward in her lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein — just not for sexual harassment.
On Wednesday, a California federal judge decided that the Double Jeopardy star will only be able to proceed with the defamation and tortious interference claims she made against the movie mogul over the aftermath of their unsavory encounter that took place about two decades ago.
According to her complaint, Judd said Weinstein made demands on her in a hotel room and claims she only escaped after striking a deal where she would let him touch her if she won an Academy Award.
Judd had later been in serious discussions for a big role in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, but got nixed after Weinstein or someone at Miramax told the director that she was a “nightmare” to work with — something the actress only learned when Jackson recalled what happened in a December 2017 interview.
During his motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Weinstein argued that Judd had a duty to conduct a reasonable investigation into why she didn’t get the part, but U.S. District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez sided with Judd, ruling that she would have not been able to learn what was said between Weinstein and Jackson at the time.
The judge wrote:
“Taking Plaintiff’s allegations as true — as the Court must at this stage — the Court concludes that she has raised a plausible inference that she would not have been able to learn about Defendant’s statements during the limitations period, even if she had conducted a diligent investigation.”
Weinstein also tried to argue that his comments about “bad experiences” with Judd amounted to a non-actionable opinion, but Judd called B.S. on that, as the judge wrote:
“ argues that she can prove these statements false because Defendant had no previous professional interaction with her and her short two-day experience working on the Miramax film Smoke (where she alleges that she did not interact with Defendant) was uniformly positive… The Court agrees with Plaintiff.”
As for Judd’s sexual harassment claim, the judge was skeptical that the statue she’s invoking “can ever properly be applied to a relationship between a potential employer and a prospective employee.”
The actress tried to compare Weinstein’s behavior to sexual harassment perpetrated by attorneys, physicians, and teachers, but the judge ruled that the relationship between an actress and producer is “qualitatively different” than the others listed in the statue.
It’s not curtains just yet, though. Judd has another opportunity to file an amended complaint in hopes of moving forward with her sexual harassment claim.
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