International edition
March 07, 2021

It was filed by women who alleged they were sexually harassed by Steve Wynn

Wynn files brief in support of court upholding judge's decision to dismiss harassment case

Wynn files brief in support of court upholding judge's decision to dismiss harassment case
Mahan had dismissed the action in July after the women alleged that Wynn Resorts knew about Steve Wynn’s actions and tried to cover up the misconduct.
United States | 02/18/2021

The nine women's decision to stay anonymous was one reason the judge dismissed the suit, arguing they hadn’t legally justified the need to stay anonymous to continue their case. They alleged that Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Resorts Ltd were aware of misconduct towards female employees but did not investigate it and covered up any reported misconduct.

W

ynn Resorts filed a 60-page answering brief on Wednesday in which it told the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that District Court Judge James Mahan ruled properly that a group of women that have filed a lawsuit claiming they were sexually harassed by Steve Wynn had failed to sufficiently defend their decision to use pseudonyms.

Furthermore, Mahan ruled that the nine women had improperly used a collective pleading instead of pleading individual acts, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

The case was dismissed, though the plaintiffs filed an appeal in August asking the appeals court to revive the lawsuit.

Mahan ruled the women did not follow the proper procedure in their appeal.

“Here, the District Court stated in its order of dismissal the deficiencies in plaintiffs’ amended complaint may be cured by amendment,” the Wynn response said. “However, an observation that something might be possible is not the equivalent of authorizing such action.”

Mahan had dismissed the action in July after the women alleged that Wynn Resorts knew about Steve Wynn’s actions and tried to cover up the misconduct.

The women chose to be referred to as Judy Does in the lawsuit and argued that the use of their real names could lead to retaliatory defamation suits by Steve Wynn, being ostracized at work, or having their lives upended if the sensitive details of the case were made public.

The court sided with a federal magistrate who found the plaintiffs had not sufficiently pleaded their case to keep their names hidden, and said the women failed to convince the court that their privacy interests outweighed the public’s right of access to the judicial proceedings.

“Although plaintiffs wish to preserve their anonymity, this causes several deficiencies in their claims against the Wynn defendants,” Mahan said in his ruling at the time. “Throughout their complaint, plaintiffs use generalized and vague statements without individualized factual support for their allegations.”Mahan also sided with Wynn Resorts’ claim that the plaintiffs should have pleaded individual facts — a requirement in sexual harassment claims — instead of collective pleading.

“Though plaintiffs all allege sexual harassment by Steve Wynn, the individualized acts of sexual harassment … are separate transactions or occurrences that must be appropriately pled in order to comply with rule,” the ruling said.

The court cases are tied to allegations that ultimately led to Steve Wynn’s departure from Wynn Resorts Ltd. in 2018.

Wynn, formerly chairman and CEO of the company, stepped down from those positions days after The Wall Street Journal published an explicit account of him demanding sexual favors from and assaulting female hotel employees. Steve Wynn has denied every allegation.

Matt Maddox, one of the longest-serving executives at Wynn Resorts, replaced Steve Wynn as CEO. Maddox had risen through the company’s ranks, working in Macao, then as chief financial officer and finally as president.

Within a month of Steve Wynn’s resignation, he had sold his Wynn Resorts stock, and by May 2018, he moved out of a villa at the resort that had been his home.

After Steve Wynn’s departure, other sexual harassment allegations surfaced, and all were denied by Steve Wynn.

Through 2018, Wynn Resorts moved to distance itself from Steve Wynn and the allegations against him.

Under Maddox, the company underwent a transformation of board membership and executive leadership changes that brought more women to top positions and new policies underscored an emphasis on rooting out sexual harassment.

The state fined the company a record $20 million and Wynn Resorts was the subject of three days of hearings over the company’s response to sexual harassment in Massachusetts, where the company was building the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor. Massachusetts regulators fined the company $35 million and Maddox $500,000.

In late 2019, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved amendments to state gaming regulations placing new emphasis on sexual harassment and all forms of discrimination and putting licensees on notice that regulators would not tolerate any form of harassment.

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