Fieldfisher personal injury head Jill Greenfield has filed a U.K. civil claim against Harvey Weinstein on behalf of a client who alleges sexual assault by the U.S. movie producer.
Greenfield, who took the case earlier this month, is representing the anonymous client on a claim for damages for personal injury, expenses and consequential loss, including aggravated and exemplary damages, according to the claim form filed in the High Court last week.
The claim has been made against Weinstein himself and the Weinstein Co.’s U.K. and U.S. arms, asserting that the movie producer’s company is “vicariously liable” for his alleged assaults.
The claim form also references psychiatric damage caused by the assaults, and states that damages are expected to exceed £300,000 ($400,146).
Greenfield said she had had to act swiftly to protect her client’s ability to bring a claim several years after the alleged assaults.
In an article published on Fieldfisher’s website earlier this month, Greenfield set out the challenges of bringing a criminal case against Weinstein, adding that “if U.S. prosecutors balk at the enormity of what they must do,” the U.K. civil courts “may offer Weinstein’s alleged British victims some hope of recognition and justice.”
“Civil claims for damages for rape are rare in the English courts but that doesn’t mean they won’t succeed,” she added. “The standard of proof is lower in a civil than a criminal case—on the balance of probabilities rather than the criminal standard, beyond reasonable doubt.”
So far, more than 50 women have accused Weinstein of a range of offenses, including harassment and rape.
Last month Allen & Overy’s name was drawn into the Weinstein scandal by a Financial Times report which revealed that the firm had advised Miramax in relation to claims made against Weinstein 19 years ago.
The magic circle firm was called in to advise the entertainment company, which was co-founded by Weinstein, when his former assistant Zelda Perkins accused him of sexual harassment in 1998.
The same month, The Weinstein Co. also confirmed that it had hired Debevoise & Plimpton litigation co-chair John Kiernan in New York to conduct an internal investigation into the allegations.
A recent survey regarding sexual harassment in law by Legal Week, ALM Media’s London-based publication, found two-thirds of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment while working in a law firm.