Ashley Judd Can Sue Weinstein, But Maybe Not for Sex Harassment

(Bloomberg) -- Ashley Judd’s lawsuit accusing Harvey Weinstein of sabotaging her career after she spurned his sexual advances can move ahead, but a judge balked at her sexual harassment claim because the actress and the producer didn’t have a “professional” relationship.

Weinstein convinced a Los Angeles federal judge that the relevant state law pertains to working relationships and not to Judd’s attempt to seek employment from him at the time. The judge said in a ruling Wednesday that Judd can revise the harassment claim to try to avoid that obstacle.

Judd alleges that Weinstein told Peter Jackson, the director of “Lord of the Rings,” that she was a nightmare to work with and that she lost out on getting a part in the trilogy as a result. Weinstein tried to get the lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that Judd waited too long to sue, but the judge found that she made a “plausible” argument that she didn’t know about Weinstein’s alleged scheming against her until last year.

Judd can proceed with her defamation claim and two other claims related to her allegation that Weinstein tried to sabotage her career, the judge ruled.

Representatives of Weinstein had no immediate comment on the ruling.

“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,” Ted Boutrous, Judd’s lawyer, said in a statement.

The California legislature this summer passed a bill that extends liability for sexual harassment beyond employment or professional relationships to make clear it applies to producers and directors. The measure is among four bills addressing sexual harassment that await California Governor Jerry Brown’s signature.

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