Judge, Expressing Skepticism, Upends $25 Million Harvey Weinstein Settlement

Judge, Expressing Skepticism, Upends $25 Million Harvey Weinstein Settlement

Judge, Expressing Skepticism, Upends $25 Million Harvey Weinstein Settlement

Judge, Expressing Skepticism, Upends $25 Million Harvey Weinstein Settlement

After the judge’s decision on Tuesday, Dominique Huett, one of several accusers who had filed objections to the settlement deal, expressed relief. Under that agreement, Mr. Weinstein “wasn’t going to have to be held accountable for his wrongdoing,” she said, and she had been especially alarmed by the millions of dollars in legal fees the settlement provided for the convicted sex offender and his former board of directors.

“The judge identified so many problems, it was not even close,” said John Clune, who represents Zoe Brock, another of the women who objected to the proposal. “Everyone wants a good result for these survivors. This wasn’t it.”

But now the question of what that result might be, and how to achieve it, is open once again. While Mr. Weinstein was convicted of sex crimes against two women earlier this year, and is serving a 23-year prison sentence, the civil settlement has long been seen as the last, best hope for legal recourse for his numerous other alleged victims.

Those women have been operating with difficult constraints: Because the Weinstein Company is in bankruptcy proceedings, they have had to make their claims along with its creditors. The accusers have already watched a potential settlement payout dwindle from a projected $90 million victims’ fund that had been discussed as part of a possible sale of the film studio in 2018, when the Weinstein Company entered bankruptcy.

In response to the ruling, plaintiffs, their lawyers and the office of the New York attorney general said they were considering their options, none of which look easy. Some say they are considering appeals. But the now-rejected settlement took more than two years to negotiate, given the number of parties and the complexity of the bankruptcy proceedings, and many of the women may be reluctant to restart the process.

Ms. Fegan, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the class-action case, did not respond to requests for comment.

Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, said, “We will review the decision and determine next steps.”


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