Ninth Circuit Revives Ashley Judd’s Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Harvey Weinstein

In a recent decision, captioned Judd v. Weinstein, 2:18-cv-05724 (9th Cir. July 29, 2020), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit revived Ashely Judd’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, overturning a district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s claim under § 51.9 of the California Civil Code.

From the Opinion:

In sum, we conclude that, as alleged, section 51.9 plainly encompasses Judd and Weinstein’s relationship, which was “substantially similar” to the “business, service, or professional relationship[s]” enumerated in the statute. Cal. Civ. Code § 51.9(a)(1)(F) (1996). As in the enumerated relationships, their relationship consisted of an inherent power imbalance wherein Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercion or leverage over Judd by virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood. We have no difficulty concluding that the California Supreme Court would reach the same conclusion, obviating the need to certify the question. See Lewis, 87 F.3d at 1545. Therefore, the district court erred when it dismissed Judd’s sexual harassment claim under section 51.9.

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