U.S. appeals court judges have revived actress Ashley Judd's sexual harassment lawsuit against fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The producer was slapped with legal action in April 2018, when Judd accused him of blacklisting her and sabotaging her career after she refused his sexual advances at a hotel meeting in the mid-1990s.
The Double Jeopardy star referred to comments made by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson in late 2017 when he confessed to dropping Judd from casting consideration for his 2001 fantasy blockbuster, based on remarks Weinstein had allegedly made about her lack of professionalism.
Weinstein denied the allegations, and months later, his lawyers succeeded in having the sexual harassment claims struck from the California court.
However, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision on Wednesday, ruling that California's sexual harassment law, which covers 'casting couch' situations, can be cited in Judd's case.
"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," Ninth Circuit Judge Mary Murguia wrote.
"We have no difficulty concluding that the California Supreme Court would reach the same conclusion, obviating the need to certify the question. Therefore, the district court erred when it dismissed Judd's sexual harassment claim," she added.
Celebrating the news, Judd's attorney, Ted Boutrous, issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, asserting that Judd's legal team looked forward to pursuing the claim and that it is "an important victory not only for Ms. Judd but for all victims of sexual harassment in professional relationships."
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