LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A judge will consider a motion by Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys to dismiss a lawsuit brought by actress Ashley Judd, who alleges the disgraced producer tried to have her blackballed in Hollywood after she rejected his sexual advances.
The motion, which will be argued before U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez, says the claims in Judd’s lawsuit are barred by the statute of limitations, since they date back to the 1990s. The attorneys also contend that Weinstein’s alleged conduct toward Judd did not rise to the legal standard of sexual harassment, and comments he allegedly made about her cannot be construed as defamatory.
Judd claims that Weinstein defamed her in 1998 by telling Peter Jackson – who at the time was casting for his eventual Oscar-winning “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy – that she was a “nightmare” to work with, costing the actress an opportunity at appearing in the film.
Weinstein’s attorneys allege there is a one-year statute of limitations for filing a defamation claim, and Judd “filed this action 20 years too late.” Judd says she did not learn of the remark until last year, when Jackson mentioned it in an interview.
Weinstein’s attorneys also argue in the dismissal motion that even if the producer did say Judd was difficult to work with, “the purported statements are not defamatory because they cannot be factually proven or disproven.”
But Judd’s attorneys state in their court papers that their client’s case should be allowed to move forward.
“Ms. Judd’s claims are legally sufficient and she is entitled to take discovery to prove up those claims on the merits,” the Judd attorneys state in their court papers. “There is no basis to dismiss any of her claims.”
Weinstein is facing sexual assault charges in New York, and he is under investigation by authorities in London and Los Angeles. He has repeatedly denied ever engaging in non-consensual sexual activity.
Judd was one of the first of nearly 90 women to come forward with harassment and sexual misconduct allegations.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)