9:28am PT by Eriq Gardner
The Weinstein Company Hit With Racketeering Class Action
An anonymous Jane Doe is attempting the first class action over Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual predation. The complaint, filed in California federal court Wednesday, targets The Weinstein Company, Miramax and others for an alleged pattern of racketeering around what's characterized as "The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise."
Backed by the law firm of Hagens Berman, the lawsuit recounts much of what's been reported in recent weeks, including how Harvey Weinstein allegedly enticed many woman in entertainment into private spaces and then forced unwanted sexual conduct on them.
"Weinstein’s widespread sexual misconduct did not occur without the help of others," states the complaint. "Rather, over time, Weinstein enlisted the aid of other firms and individuals to facilitate and conceal his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct."
Among those mentioned are the corporate intelligence firms of Kroll Associates and B.C. Strategy U.K. ("Black Cube"); various law firms including Boies Schiller Flexner and K&L Gates; co-producers of Miramax and TWC and other entertainment industry members; and even journalists such as American Media Inc. chief content officer Dylan Howard.
By attempting to bring a claim under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the plaintiffs are essentially using a private right of action that's often been used against mafia-like conduct.
Class actions are often disfavored by courts, and to be certified, plaintiff lawyers will also need to demonstrate commonality in the questions of law or fact. That will be explored at a later stage.
For now, the complaint states, "The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise’s long-running practice of isolating and blacklisting Weinstein’s victims and covering up Weinstein’s predatory tactics should not be permitted to overcome the interests of the Plaintiff and the Class Members to proceed collectively, with strength together, in a unified manner in this class action."
Here's the full complaint: