Reversed ruling

Steve Wynn case: Appeals court moves dismissed sexual harassment lawsuit forward

Steve Wynn, founder and former CEO of Wynn Resorts.
United States
Reading time 1:24 min

After a Tuesday decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the dismissed sexual harassment lawsuit brough by nine women against Wynn Resorts and its former CEO Steve Wynn will move forward, as the appellate court reversed a portion of a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Mahan who said the women’s pleadings were “too vague” in July 2020.

Attorneys in the case are expected to respond within two weeks and the appellate court ruled each party would bear its own court expenses. The appellate ruling was argued on Oct. 4.

The original case was filed in March 2019, a year after Steve Wynn left Wynn Resorts following sexual harassment allegations, which were made public in a January 2018 Wall Street Journal story. 

The women chose to be referred to as Judy Does in the lawsuit. However, in earlier filings, they identified themselves as employees working as manicurists or makeup artists at Wynn Las Vegas. They alleged “each suffered similar but individualized acts of sexual harassments and personal degradation by Steve Wynn at different times, with different durations and under different circumstances” during the course of their employment.

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

After a change in its board of directors, Wynn Resorts has since established new anti-harassment policies for the company. 

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, which is a requirement in sexual harassment claims. 

However, the appellate court said Judy Does “repeatedly expressed a willingness to provide more information, so long as their privacy could be assured,” as reported by Las Vegas Review-Journal. It also stated that “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”. 

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