California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Ashley Judd can pursue a sexual harassment claim against convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the court stated that the nature of Judd and Weinstein’s relationship was “sufficient” enough to give the actress grounds to sue. In Judd’s complaint, which included stories that she first revealed to the public in October 2017, the actress alleges that Weinstein propositioned her for sex in a hotel room about 20 years ago. Judd declined, saying that she was only able to escape by telling Weinstein that she’d sleep with him if she wins an Oscar. Weinstein would go on to blacklist Judd from Hollywood film roles, particularly within his company, Miramax. “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,” a judge wrote. “We have no difficulty concluding that the California Supreme Court would reach the same conclusion, obviating the need to certify the question.”
The new ruling comes after Judd previously tried to sue Weinstein for harassment and defamation in 2018. However, the claim was tossed by a California federal judge in early 2019, who stated at the time that their working relationship didn’t meet the state’s legal standard for a claim.