News World US US court approves Harvey Weinstein victims payout

US court approves Harvey Weinstein victims payout

Harvey Weinstein is serving a 23-year prison sentence. Photo: PA
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Nearly three years after the Weinstein Co. declared bankruptcy, a US judge has confirmed a liquidation plan that provides a $US17.1 million ($22.1 million) fund for disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct victims.

The plan also provides $US9.7 million ($12.6 million) to the former officers and directors of the Weinstein Co., allowing them to pay a portion of their legal bills over the last several years.

The directors and officers – who include Weinstein’s brother Bob as well as James Dolan, Tarak Ben Ammar and Lance Maerov – also received releases that absolve them of any potential liability for enabling Weinstein’s conduct.

US Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath approved the plan after a hearing in Delaware, saying that without the settlement, Weinstein’s victims would get “minimal, if any, recovery”.

The liquidation plan wraps up a contentious and long-running legal fight over the remnants of Weinstein’s independent studio. The company collapsed in late 2017, following the disclosure of dozens of allegations of rape, sexual assault, harassment and other misconduct.

Several insurance carriers will pay out a total of $US35.2 million ($45.6 million) to resolve all the remaining claims, including those from the Weinstein Co.’s trade creditors.

The $US17 million ($22 million) victims’ fund will be divided among more than 50 claimants, with the most serious allegations resulting in payouts of $US500,000 ($647,555) or more.

The settlement was put to a vote of Weinstein’s victims, with 39 voting in favour and eight opposed.

An earlier version of the settlement would have provided a $US24.3 million ($31.5 million) payout to victims, including women who alleged they were abused in the “Miramax” era, which predated 2005.

But Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected the deal, saying the class action suit that included the Miramax-era victims was not viable. The settlement was later revised to exclude Miramax, Disney and their insurers.

A portion of the defence cost payout was initially earmarked for Harvey Weinstein’s defence. That funding was stripped out of the plan.

The civil claimants still have the option to pursue Harvey Weinstein in civil court, though most of the lawyers involved believe he has few assets that could be recovered.

The bulk of the Weinstein’s Co.’s assets were sold in 2018 to Lantern Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm, for $US289 million ($374 million). Those funds were used to pay the company’s secured creditors.