The lawsuit against Wynn Resorts filed by nine anonymous women who claimed they were sexually harassed by the company’s former CEO, Steve Wynn, has been dismissed by a federal judge. The women filed against the company stating it was well aware of the actions of its CEO and even tried to cover up the misconduct.
Collective Sexual Harassment Pleading, Plaintiffs Anonymous
The women, all of which working at Wynn Resorts properties as manicurists and make-up artists, elected to remain anonymous and were referred to in the case as Judy Does. They outlined they want to preserve their anonymity as they were fearing retaliatory actions and defamation suits by Steve Wynn, as well as being ostracized at work and having their lives upended by sensitive details.
The case relates to allegations that Steve Wynn demanded sexual favours and even assaulted female hotel employees, which, despite him denying the allegations claiming they were concocted by his former wife to get leverage in an ongoing divorce settlement, ultimately led to him stepping down as both Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts only days after the story became public.
The US District Court for the District of Nevada issued a ruling Wednesday, stating that the women failed to sufficiently defend the use of pseudonyms, and also improperly filed a collective pleading instead of individual ones.
US District Judge James Mahon pointed out in the ruling the wish of the plaintiffs to preserve anonymity caused deficiencies in their claims, as throughout the complaint there are only generalized and vague statements used, lacking individual factual support for the allegations.
The district court ruling sided with a federal judge who concluded plaintiffs had not sufficiently pleaded their case to justify their names being kept hidden, failing to convince the court their privacy interests outweighed the right of the public to have access to the judicial proceedings.
The court also sided with the claim by Wynn Resorts’ defendants that the plaintiffs should have filed individual complaints, a requirement in the sexual harassment process, instead of collective pleading. The judge outlined that although all plaintiffs allege sexual harassment, each occurrence is a separate transaction and must be pled accordingly to comply with the rule.
References to formal charges of discrimination against Wynn with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 2018, have not been taken to consideration as these were not submitted to the court, despite being referenced throughout the complaint.
The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, leaving the opportunity to be refiled.
Meanwhile, the Nevada Supreme Court said it may reopen a defamation lawsuit filed by Steve Wynn in 2018 against The Associated Press which published an article alleging the former Wynn Resorts CEO of inappropriate sexual behavior towards women, despite the article being based entirely on a police report.