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Geiss v. Weinstein Co. Holdings LLC

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

April 17, 2019, Decided; April 18, 2019, Filed

17 Civ. 9554 (AKH)

Opinion

 [*161]  ORDER AND OPINION DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

ALVIN K. HELLERSTEIN, U.S.D.J.:

This action by ten plaintiffs—Zoe [**5]  Brock, Caitlin Dulany, Louisette Geiss, Larissa Gomes, Katherine Kendall, Nannette Klatt, Melissa Sagemiller, Sarah Ann Thomas, Melissa Thompson,. and Jane Doe—individually and on behalf of a class, against Harvey Weinstein ("H. Weinstein"), his former companies, and certain officers and directors of those companies, charges that H. Weinstein sexually harassed  [*162]  and assaulted them between 1993 and 2011, and that the other defendants knew of, facilitated, and covered up his misconduct. Defendants move to dismiss.

The First Amended Complaint ("FAC") contains eighteen counts, including four federal claims for violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act ("TVPA") (Counts I and II) and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") (Counts V and VI), and fourteen state claims for negligent supervision and retention (Counts III and IV), battery (Counts VII and VIII), assault (Counts IX and X), false imprisonment (Counts XI and XII), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Counts XIII and XIV), negligent infliction of emotional distress (Counts XV and XVI), and ratification (Counts XVII and XVIII). The state law claims fall into two categories: (i) allegations against [**6]  Miramax Film NY LLC ("Miramax"); The Walt Disney Company, Disney Enterprises, Inc., Buena Vista International, Inc. (together, "Disney"); and certain officers of these companies (together with Miramax and Disney, the "Miramax Defendants") for conduct occurring before September 30, 2005; and (ii) allegations against The Weinstein Company Holdings, LLC ("TWC") and certain officers and directors of TWC (together with TWC, the "TWC Defendants") for conduct occurring after September 30, 2005.

Defendants move to dismiss under Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (ECF Nos. 199, 239, 241, 246, and 254). For the reasons discussed below, H. Weinstein's motion to dismiss the TVPA claim against him (Count I) is denied. All other claims (Counts II-XVIII) are dismissed against all defendants, including H. Weinstein: the TVPA participation claims (Count II) fail to allege receipt of a benefit from participation in sex trafficking, the RICO claims (Counts V and VI) fail to allege injury to business or property caused by a RICO violation, and the state law claims (Counts III, IV, VII-XVIII) are untimely under the applicable statutes of limitations.

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383 F. Supp. 3d 156 *; 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66364 **; 2019 WL 1746009

LOUISETTE GEISS et al., Plaintiffs. v. THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY HOLDINGS LLC, et al., Defendants.

Prior History: Noble v. Weinstein, 335 F. Supp. 3d 504, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137235 (S.D.N.Y., Aug. 13, 2018)Canosa v. Ziff, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128972 (S.D.N.Y., Aug. 1, 2018)

CORE TERMS

assault, allegations, misconduct, tolling, film, duress, sexual, Counts, equitable estoppel, Subclass, plaintiffs', sex, limitations period, motion to dismiss, career, intimidation, benefits, venture, trafficking, movie, hotel room, facilitated, wrongs, state law claim, threats, statute of limitations, negligent supervision, imprisonment, equitable, distress