Appellate Court Reinstates Wynn Harassment Suit

A sexual harassment lawsuit against Steve Wynn (l.), dismissed in July 2020, will move forward following a decision last week by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appellate Court Reinstates Wynn Harassment Suit

A sexual harassment lawsuit against Wynn Resorts Ltd. and its founder Steve Wynn will move forward following a November 23 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The appellate court overturned part of a July 2020 ruling by U.S. District Judge James Mahan, who said the case brought by nine women was “too vague,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The case was first filed in March 2019, a year after the explosive allegations that forced Wynn to step down from his own company. The claims, including sexual harassment and rape, came to light in a January 2018 Wall Street Journal story. The women worked as manicurists or makeup artists at Wynn Las Vegas.

They alleged “each suffered similar but individualized acts of sexual harassment and personal degradation by Steve Wynn … at different times, with different durations and under different (and unique) circumstances.”

The filing alleged that Wynn Resorts “knew of Steve Wynn’s propensity of misconduct towards female employees, failed to investigate and covered up any reported misconduct.”

The scandal caused an overhaul of the Wynn board and the establishment of new anti-harassment policies.

Mahan’s District Court ruling said the women failed to sufficiently defend their decision to use pseudonyms and improperly used collective pleading instead of pleading individual facts—a requirement in sexual harassment claims.

However, the appellate court, in its ruling, said the Judy Does “repeatedly expressed a willingness to provide more information, so long as their privacy could be assured. While the Judy Does had no automatic right to file an amended complaint, the District Court still should have granted leave to amend when dismissing claims that could be cured with additional facts.”

Attorneys in the case are expected to respond within two weeks, and the appellate court ruled each party would bear its own court expenses.