Weinstein Accuser Opposes Settlement, Says Process Is UnfairVariety — Gene Maddaus
Another Harvey Weinstein accuser has raised objections to the $46.8 million settlement, arguing that it sets up an unfair process for sexual abuse victims and that too much money will go to the class action attorneys.
Zoe Brock, who was one of the class action plaintiffs, filed her opposition to the settlement on Friday. Four other Weinstein accusers — Wedil David, Dominique Huett, Kaja Sokola and Alexandra Canosa — have previously voiced concern and said they will not participate.
The settlement was announced on June 30, following approximately 18 months of drawn-out negotiations. It sets up an $18.9 million fund that would go to class action plaintiffs and their attorneys, as well as $5.4 million pool for individual plaintiffs.
Brock, a model and actress from New Zealand, alleges that Weinstein lured her to a hotel suite at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, took off his clothes and then insisted on a massage. She said she was able to escape the suite as Weinstein attempted to maneuver her into a bedroom.
After she was first informed of the general outline of the settlement last fall, Brock said she raised concerns about the compensation that would go to Elizabeth Fegan, the lead class action attorney, and the Hagens Berman law firm. She also believed that the settlement was insufficient to hold Weinstein and his enablers to account.
According to her motion, Fegan fired her as a client and excluded her new counsel from subsequent settlement talks.
Brock’s new attorneys, Daniel D. Williams and John C. Clune of Boulder, Colo., argue in the opposition that the process for class action claimants may retraumatize Weinstein’s victims, and could lead to arbitrary awards. The process includes a lengthy questionnaire, but the attorneys argue the tone of the questions may inhibit the most traumatized victims from participating.
The attorneys also challenge the guidelines for assessing how much each claimant should receive, saying it puts heavy weight on the type of sexual misconduct alleged, and little weight on the impact of that misconduct.
Brock’s lawyers also object that Harvey Weinstein will pay nothing out of pocket to resolve the claims, relying instead entirely on insurance proceeds. Brock says she still wishes to participate in a global settlement, but that the current terms are unacceptable and should be rejected.
Attorneys for the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy estate hope to win court approval for the settlement and to confirm a plan of liquidation by the end of 2020.