Steve Wynn Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Resurrected by Appeals Court

Posted on: November 24, 2021, 04:40h. 

Last updated on: November 24, 2021, 05:04h.

The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by nine women against Wynn Resorts founder Steve Wynn.

Steve Wynn
Steve Wynn lights the Al Davis Memorial Torch at the Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium on September 26 with his wife Andrea Hissom. It was his first public appearance since sexual misconduct allegations came to light in January 2018. (Image: Image: LVRJ)

The women, all either manicurists or makeup artists at Wynn Las Vegas, sued Wynn in March 2019, collectively under the pseudonym “Judy Does.”

Fourteen months earlier, a Wall Street Journal article accused Wynn of engaging in a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” towards female staff.

Wynn denied the accusations, but resigned from his position as chairman and CEO of the company that bears his name. He also sold his stake in Wynn Resorts in a bid to protect its gambling licenses in Nevada and Massachusetts.

‘Personal Degradation’

On Tuesday, the appellate panel batted the case back to the district court, which dismissed the women’s claims in July 2020. The district court determined the lawsuit had been short on details and inadequately pleaded. It also said the women had failed to defend their decision to remain anonymous.

The plaintiffs said they had requested anonymity for fear of possible retaliatory lawsuits from Wynn, and because of the disruptive impact going public might have on their lives.

They claimed they each “suffered similar but individualized acts of sexual harassment and personal degradation.”

Amended Complaints

The appellate court agreed with the district court’s reasons for dismissing the case, but noted that the plaintiffs “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,” wrote the appellate panel.

The Judy Does should be permitted to file their amended complaint under fictitious names, at which point the district court should reassess the motion to proceed under fictitious names,” the judges added.

Kathleen England, attorney for the Judy Does, told the Associated Press on Wednesday her clients would amend their complaints in line with the court’s guidance.

Wynn Won’t be Contacted  

A spokesperson for Steve Wynn told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the billionaire was a private citizen and did not wish to be contacted by reporters.

Since quitting the casino, Wynn has reinvented himself as a Florida-based art dealer. His new company, Wynn Fine Art, currently has Picassos, Matisses, and Warhols for sale.

In September, he made his first public appearance since the scandal broke, lighting the torch at the Allegiant Stadium ahead of the Las Vegas Raiders’ game against the Miami Dolphins.

He was mostly cheered by the 65,000-strong crowd.