Harvey Weinstein's firm to pay $17mn to sexual abuse claimants
The US bankruptcy court in Delaware has delivered a landmark judgment concerning compensation for several sex abuse victims of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Judge Mary Walrath on Monday approved The Weinstein Company's liquidation plan that sets aside an amount of $17mn, which will be distributed between over 50 claimants, who accused the top film producer of varying levels of sexual molestation and harassment.
The court maintained that the compensation to each victim will depend on a point system calculation, with points being given to victims in lieu of the damages incurred. Each victim will then get an amount corresponding to their points accrued with respect to the total points accumulated by all claimants combined. The highest compensation may exceed $500,000 if the damages are extreme.
The decision met with opposition as 39 claimants voted in favor of it, while eight didn't agree. Attorneys of the claimants who didn't agree to the judgment complained about the choice offered between pursuing the claim outside the bankruptcy court and getting the full payout. The point system guarantees payment of only 25% of the share of a claimant not releasing charges against Weinstein.
The payout, now approved by the bankruptcy court, is accessible if the claimants agree to drop future charges against TWC and its board members and executives including Bob Weinstein. New York Attorney General Letitia James lauded other benefits apart from monetary compensation to parties involved. The judgment also frees the said survivors from any non-disclosure agreements signed with TWC, thus enabling free public speech.
Weinstein's lawyer Imran H Ansari of Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins on Monday said that claimants wanting to pursue their cases outside the bankruptcy court's order await uncertain financial recovery, now that The Weinstein Company is bankrupt and this is the only route to "realistic recovery." Overruling objections, Judge Walrath said 83% of sexual misconduct claimants want closure by accepting this plan.