US firms Boies Schiller & Flexner and K&L Gates have been embroiled in a class action claim alongside corporate executives and entertainment industry individuals as part of a so-called “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise”.
A new class action was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by six women, accusing disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and his associates of a pattern of racketeering activity to cover up sexual misconduct allegations.
In the claim, a number of law firms, including Boies Schiller and K&L Gates are labelled along with the complicit producers and other firms and individuals as the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” which are alleged to have facilitated and concealed his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct.
The court filings highlighted Boies Schiller’s participation in the RICO (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) enterprise. The claim alleged that during the negotiations to renew Weinstein’s contract in 2015 with TWC, Boies Schiller not only withheld Weinstein’s file but also tried to cover up his pattern and practice of sexual assault.
In another example, the documents state that Weinstein instructed Boies Schiller to retain the intelligence participant Black Cube to investigate which class members were providing information, to gather intelligence to prevent the reporting or publication of the accusations, and to secretly record class members’ conversations.
The court filings state that in October 2016, Boies Schiller and Black Cube signed a contract to help the Weinstein Sexual Enterprise. They also signed several subsequent contracts for the same purposes. Later that month, Boies Schiller wired Black Cube an initial payment of $100,000 to fulfill those purposes.
The documents claim that in 2017, Weinstein instructed Boies Schiller again to retain Black Cube to prevent the reporting of rape by actress Rose McGowan.
Other law firms with ties to the Weinstein Sexual Enterprise are named as BCL Burton Copeland and Gross Klatthandler Hodak Halevy Greenberg & Co in the court filing.
In a statement to The Lawyer, a spokesperson at K&L Gates said: “We are aware of the lawsuits filed against Harvey Weinstein and others that mention K&L Gates. K&L Gates is not named as a defendant in the lawsuits but the suits attempt to claim that the firm was involved in a scheme to facilitate or cover up Mr. Weinstein’s activities. The claims relating to K&L Gates are false. K&L Gates has never represented Mr. Weinstein or any other person or entity concerning investigations or inquiries relating to Mr. Weinstein.”
US firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and The Armenta Law Firm are representing the six female claimants in the new class action.
Weinstein is also facing legal challenges in the UK. Last month Fieldfisher launched a civil claim against the disgraced media producer for multiples allegations of sexual assault. Fieldfisher head of serious injury Jill Greenfield issued proceedings on behalf of a private client against Weinstein, the Weinstein Company UK and the Weinstein Company in the US.
It is not known which firm Weinstein will turn to in the UK civil claim, but in the past Allen & Overy’s Mark Mansell advised him on the matter of non-disclosure agreements.
Boies Schiller, BCL Burton Copeland and Gross Klatthandler Hodak Halevy Greenberg & Co have been approached for comment.