Fieldfisher files UK civil claim against Harvey Weinstein over 'series of sexual assaults'

Fieldfisher personal injury head Jill Greenfield has filed a UK civil claim against Harvey Weinstein on behalf of a client who alleges they were sexually assaulted by the US movie producer.

Greenfield, who was instructed 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 against Weinstein himself and the Weinstein Company’s UK and US 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.

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 US prosecutors balk at the enormity of what they must do”, the UK civil courts “may offer Weinstein’s alleged British victims some hope of recognition and justice”.

She added: “Civil claims for damages for rape are rare in the English courts but that doesn’t mean they won’t succeed. 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 offences, 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 drafted 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 Company 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 Legal Week survey into sexual harassment in law found two thirds of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment while working in a law firm.