6:52pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Harvey Weinstein Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement Includes $18.8M Survivors' Fund
An $18.875 million settlement fund will be created as part of a deal to resolve a class action complaint against Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Co.
The settlement resolves a 2017 class action from women alleging Weinstein "engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and abuse" as well as a 2018 lawsuit from the New York Attorney General's Office that alleged he created a hostile work environment and the conduct was aided and abetted by the company in violation of the state's human rights laws.
New York Attorney General Letitia James praised the settlement on Twitter, writing, "After all the harassment, threats, and discrimination, these survivors are finally receiving some semblance of justice. I thank them for bravely sharing their stories."
Defendants still deny all allegations, but the parties agree its in everyone's interest to resolve the claims. The accusers will forever release the defendants, who include TWC board members, execs and Bob Weinstein, from claims arising from the alleged sexual misconduct, and James' office will be barred from prosecuting any related action.
The insurance companies will pay out a total of more than $46.7 million as part of the global settlement.
From that, the $18.8 million settlement fund will be created and each class member can submit a form describing her experience and its effects. Tier 1 claimants will receive a payment between $7,500 and $150,000. Tier 2 claimants will receive between $7,500 and $750,000, and those claims require an interview with a special master who is assigned to evaluate them.
Separately, $5.4 million will be paid to an individual plaintiffs' settlement fund, which goes to a group of women who negotiated a separate settlement. Those women include Weinstein's former assistant Sandeep Rehal and actress Paz de la Huerta, each of whom will receive $500,000.
The proposed settlement includes a $12 million payment to defense lawyers at Seyfarth Shaw, plus additional attorneys' fees in an amount to be determined for the plaintiffs' lawyers.
Further, "The Defendants expressly release any member of the Settlement Class from any confidentiality, non-disclosure, or non-disparagement agreement arising out of or related to any Sexual Misconduct Claims."
Weinstein's lawyer Imran Ansari on Tuesday sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement. "With closure in sight on one front, Mr. Weinstein remains intently focused in defending himself on all remaining legal matters, including the appeal of his criminal conviction, civil lawsuits, and the charges filed against him in LA. He continues to pursue all legal recourse available to him and remains steadfast in the defense of those matters."
The settlement excludes several accusers including Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Alexandra Canosa, Wedil David and Dominique Huett. If any of the latter three parties votes to accept the plan, they would receive $150,000 from a separate $1.5 million segregated defense fund.
Attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, who represent six women accusing Weinstein of sexual misconduct, on Tuesday issued a lengthy statement decrying the deal.
"The proposed settlement is a complete sellout of the Weinstein survivors and we are surprised that the Attorney General could somehow boast about a proposal that fails on so many different levels," it reads, in part. "While we do not begrudge any survivor who truly wants to participate in this deal, as we understand the proposed agreement, it is deeply unfair for many reasons."
The claim forms, details about what the special master will be evaluating and a press release from the attorneys at FeganScott and Hagens Berman are included in the document that's posted below.
A New York federal judge will decide whether to grant preliminary approval of the settlement.
Here's the full statement from Wigdor and Mintzer:
"The proposed settlement is a complete sellout of the Weinstein survivors and we are surprised that the Attorney General could somehow boast about a proposal that fails on so many different levels. While we do not begrudge any survivor who truly wants to participate in this deal, as we understand the proposed agreement, it is deeply unfair for many reasons. First, Harvey Weinstein accepts no responsibility for his actions. Second, Harvey Weinstein isn’t paying any money toward the settlement despite now having been found guilty in Manhattan criminal court. Third, the director defendants, who we allege had knowledge of Weinstein’s behavior, will be receiving millions of dollars to reimburse their defense costs. Fourth, if this settlement were approved by the courts, survivors who do not wish to participate in settlement but would prefer instead to hold Harvey Weinstein accountable, will be unable to pursue the multi-billion dollar insurance companies and the directors because they will receive legal releases. And Fifth, the class action lawyers will be seeking millions of dollars in fees for an objectively unsuccessful result. We are completely astounded that the Attorney General is taking a victory lap for this unfair and inequitable proposal, and on behalf of our clients, we will be vigorously objecting in court.”