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Judge rejects proposed class settlement in Weinstein case

Harvey Weinstein

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a proposed class-action settlement in litigation filed by Harvey Weinstein’s victims.

Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court in New York issued a brief order denying a motion for the proposed settlement’s preliminary approval.

Judge Hellerstein said he will follow his order with a memorandum decision setting out reasons for the ruling, according to the latest legal development in Louisette Geiss et al., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. The Weinstein Co. Holdings, LLC, et al.; Jill Doe, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. The Weinstein Co. Holdings, LLC, et al.

Two plaintiff law firms in the Weinstein litigation had filed objections in federal court Monday to preliminary approval of the proposed class settlement.

A jury found the former movie producer guilty of rape and sexual assault in March, and he was sentenced to a 23-year prison sentence.

Attorneys for New York-based plaintiff law firms Wigdor LP and the law office of Kevin Mintzer P.C., which had filed the objections to the settlement, said in a statement, “We have been saying for over a year and a half that the settlement terms and conditions were unfair and should never be imposed on sexual assault survivors.

“We were surprised that class counsel and the New York Attorney General did not recognize this fact but are pleased that Judge Hellerstein swiftly rejected the one-sided proposal. On behalf of our clients, we look forward to pursuing justice against Harvey Weinstein and his many enablers.”

Class-action attorneys in the litigation, Elizabeth A. Fegan of FeganScott LLC  In Chicago and Steve W. Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP in Seattle, said in a statement, 

“We were disappointed in the judge’s decision this morning. We’ve long held that we needed to find justice for all the women that Weinstein preyed upon in a fair and equitable way.

“Now, we need to turn our attention to litigating our clients’ individual cases. We will also seek to appeal an earlier court ruling that excused The Weinstein Company’s board of directors, who we contend had known of Weinstein’s behavior and did nothing to stop it. We believe they should be held accountable for their silence and inaction.
“The brave women who stood up to Weinstein and filed this action deserve our admiration, and we will continue to fight on their behalf.”

An attorney for Mr. Weinstein had no comment.