Weinstein Co sued by actress for failing to control Harvey

Harvey Weinstein (left) and his brother Bob Weinstein, outside the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles in 2009. PHOTO: NYTIMES

Los Angeles (Bloomberg) - The Weinstein Co faces its first lawsuit accusing the company of failing to control ousted co-founder Harvey Weinstein, in a case brought by an actress who claims he sexually assaulted her.

Dominique Huett said the company "knew or should have known that Weinstein would lure young aspiring actresses into compromising situations under the guise of business meetings", according to a complaint filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles. She alleged negligence and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

She said the studio's board of directors, including Bob Weinstein, was aware of Weinstein's propensity to engage in sexual misconduct prior to a meeting she had with him at the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel in 2010. Weinstein took her to his room and insisted that she gave him a massage and let him perform oral sex on her, according to Huett.

Billionaire Tom Barrack, whose Colony Capital has offered Weinstein Co. a financial lifeline, told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday that he'll know "soon" whether Colony will acquire the entire company. He added that evaluating which liabilities against Harvey Weinstein are attributable to the company is like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube.

The embattled studio is already facing an investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for possible civil rights violations following the allegations of decades of sexual assaults and harassment by Harvey Weinstein.

A spokesman for New York-based Weinstein Co. didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Huett v. Weinstein Co., BC680869, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.

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