Add this to the growing list of legal problems facing Harvey Weinstein, The Weinstein Co. (TWC) and Miramax: Lawyers at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and The Armenta Law Firm have filed a federal racketeering class action against Weinstein, the production company and the studio alleging they conspired “to facilitate and conceal [Weinstein's] pattern of unwanted sexual conduct.”
The law firms filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of a Jane Doe plaintiff who claims Weinstein threatened her and falsely imprisoned her after she refused his advances after being brought in to audition for a Miramax production. Jane Doe v. Miramax LLC, 2:2017cv08323.
The lawyers are seeking to certify a class of all women who met with Weinstein in person to audition or to discuss involvement in a project to be produced or distributed by Miramax or TWC.
“Plaintiff, and hundreds of other female actors like her, found themselves with Weinstein on the casting couch at offices, in hotel rooms, or at rooms at industry functions,” the lawyers wrote. “Weinstein’s widespread sexual misconduct did not occur without the help of others. Rather, over time, Weinstein enlisted the aid of other firms and individuals to facilitate and conceal his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct.”
Representatives of Miramax and TWC didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The 59-page complaint draws heavily on recent reporting by The New York Times and The New Yorker. The lawsuit labels investigative firms and lawyers who helped suppress stories about Weinstein as “The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise.” Law firms mentioned in the complaint include law firms Boies Schiller Flexner; K&L Gates; BCL Burton Copeland; and Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg & Co., though the suit is not seeking any claims against lawyers or firms.
In a statement provided by a firm spokesman, Boies Schiller Flexner general counsel Nicholas Gravante Jr. said his firm had recently been asked by Benjamin Brafman, one of Weinstein’s current defense counsel, not to make any public statements about him or the firm’s representation of him. “Pending further discussions, we are, at present, obliged to respect that request,” Gravante said. Representatives from the other law firms were not immediately available for comment.
However, the lawsuit claims TWC and Miramax should be held liable for Weinstein’s actions because the conduct was within the scope of his employment for the companies.
***** Ross Todd is bureau chief of The Recorder, a San Francisco-based ALM sibling of Entertainment Law & Finance.
The views expressed in the article are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of their clients or other attorneys in their firm.