A San Francisco appeals court ruled in favor of former casino mogul Steve Wynn in his lengthy legal battle against attorney Lisa Bloom and her law firm based on a press release alleging that the businessman “leered.” to a former employee of Wynn Resorts.
Late last month, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an earlier decision issued by a lower court that denied Ms. Bloom’s motion to dismiss Mr. Wynn’s complaint. for defamation.
The billionaire businessman filed his complaint in spring 2018 in response to a new statement from Ms. Bloom’s law firm, The Bloom Firm, in which he said he was representing a former Wynn Resorts employee who claimed to have been subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation by Mr. Wynn.
The identity of Ms Bloom’s client has not been released, but the attorney said in the contested press release that she was a dancer from ShowStoppers at Wynn Las Vegas between late 2014 and late 2016. The woman accused Mr. Wynn of leering at her and other dancers at the show and ordering them to strip down to their underwear.
In his defamation complaint, the businessman said that he could not have leered at the dancers on stage as he was legally blind due to a deteriorating eye condition who was diagnosed for the first time at age 20. In addition, he noted that when he attended rehearsals with ShowStoppers dancers, most of the time he was accompanied by his wife and never interacted with the women participating in the show.
Bloom contests the ruling
Ms. Bloom’s Las Vegas attorney Marc Randazza said he would file court papers requesting that a full panel of judges review the matter. In addition, he noted that last month’s decision was “bad reason and without ties to legal principles. “
The three-judge panel ruled in March that Mr. Wynn has “demonstrated a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether the Bloom defendants acted with real malice in publishing the press release.” The decision was made that Ms Bloom chose to publish the press release despite being informed that “none of the witnesses could confirm that Wynn played some role in giving the instructions and without considering alternative explanations or investigating further. ”
US District Judge James Mahan ruled last year in favor of the embattled businessman and refused to dismiss the defamation lawsuit. The judge said in his ruling that “if the facts known to the defendant were inconsistent with his press release, there is sufficient evidence to support the jury’s determination that the defendants published the press release with royal malice because the accused would necessarily have published it knowingly or recklessly, disregarding its falsehood. “
Ms. Bloom’s attorney argued that, with his complaint, Mr. Wynn had attempted to silence his critics and that the businessman’s hearing was a “red herring issue.”
The businessman resigned from his duties as CEO and president of casino operator Wynn Resorts in early 2018 after an explosive Wall Street Journal investigation that detailed a decades-old pattern of sexual harassment by Mr. Wynn. He has repeatedly denied all the allegations.
The disgraced businessman is understood to seek $ 75,000 in damages from Ms. Bloom.
Source: Appeals Court Sides Steve Wynn in Defamation Lawsuit, Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 5, 2021