A federal judge in Nevada has once again ordered that nine female Wynn Las Vegas employees must reveal their names if their sexual harassment case against Steve Wynn is to proceed.
The women, all either manicurists or makeup artists at Wynn Las Vegas, sued Wynn in March 2019 under the pseudonyms “Judy Doe 1-9.” The plaintiffs requested anonymity for fear of possible retaliatory lawsuits from Wynn and because of the disruptive impact going public might have on their lives and careers.
The sexual harassment allegations against Wynn include “inappropriate physical touching,” “grabbing [plaintiff’s] hands and forcing her to massage him near his genitals during a manicure or pedicure,” and “asking inappropriate sexual questions,” among other things. There are no allegations of sexual assault.
Wynn left the gambling industry in 2018 after a Wall Street Journal article accused him of a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” towards female staff. He has denied the allegations.
The US judicial system has a default preference for openness. Parties are only allowed to use pseudonyms in extraordinary circumstances. Those are defined when the party’s identity is nondisclosure is necessary to protect an individual from harassment, injury, ridicule, or personal embarrassment.
The district court dismissed the case in July 2020 when the judge determined the lawsuit had been short on details and inadequately pleaded. He also said the women had failed to defend their decision to remain anonymous.
But a Ninth Circuit Appeals Court batted it back in November 2021, ruling that the women should be allowed to provide more information.
On Tuesday, US Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach ruled that the plaintiffs had “not met the high burden required by the law” to remain anonymous.
“The #MeToo movement showed the world that powerful people, mostly men, were abusing their power and perpetrating violence against women,” wrote Fenerbach.
Many of these famous men have rightfully lost much of their power thanks to the courageous public testimony of the survivors who came forward,” added the judge. “Most of these survivors used their own names and put their own credibility on the line.”
“The plaintiffs’ fear of harassment, injury, ridicule, or personal embarrassment in this case are equally present for all similarly situated sexual harassment victims and is not extraordinary,” he continued. “The plaintiffs’ interest in remaining anonymous is greatly outweighed by the prejudice to the public.”
Wynn is also being sued by Angela Limcaco, a former Wynn Las Vegas Salon manager. She claims she blew the whistle about Wynn’s alleged misconduct 15 years ago but was bullied into silence.
Limcaco says she told senior casino management in 2005 that Wynn had sexually assaulted and impregnated one of her employees at the salon. The unnamed woman’s employment was abruptly terminated, and she was paid a concealed $7.5 million settlement, according to the lawsuit.
A Massachusetts Gaming Commission investigation later confirmed the payoff’s existence. Wynn says his encounter with the unnamed woman was consensual.
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