On July 29, an appeals court ruled that Ashley Judd, who had previously been refrained from filing a sexual harassment complaint against Harvey Weinstein, can continue pursuing the sexual harassment claim against him. 

The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that when Weinstein invited her to his room at the Peninsula Hotel in the mid-1990s, he held significant power over her career, thus reversing a lower court decision in 2019. 

Last year, when Judd had claimed that Weinstein had sexually harassed her and damaged her career, a Los Angeles federal judge dismissed the case on the basis that she was not, technically, Weinstein's employee at the time. 

In her complaint, Judd had claimed that after she rebuffed Harvey Weinstein’s sexual advances, he dissuaded director Peter Jackson and screenwriter Fran Walsh from casting her in their Lord of the Rings movies. “He also effectively blocked Ms. Judd from future opportunities to work with Mr. Jackson and Ms. Walsh,” read the complaint.

As per the new ruling, the disgraced Hollywood mogul did use his power over her career when they met at the Peninsula Hotel in the mid-1990s. Judd had claimed that Weinstein had lured her to his hotel room, asked her to watch him shower and even tried to massage her. 

"This is an important victory not only for Ms. Judd but for all the victims of sexual harassment in professional relationships,” said Judd's lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous.

"The court correctly holds that California law forbids sexual harassment and retaliation by film producers and others in powerful positions, even outside the employment context, and we look forward to pursuing this claim against Mr. Weinstein at trial," she added.

"(T)heir relationship consisted of an inherent power imbalance wherein Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercion or leverage over Judd by virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood. Therefore, the district court erred when it dismissed Judd’s sexual harassment claim,” wrote Judge Mary H. Murguia for the panel.

Harvey Weinstein is currently serving 23 years in prison after he was found guilty at a New York City court of first-degree criminal sexual act and rape in the third degree. 

Golden Globes 2018 Red Carpet Photos: Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd walk the red carpet of the Golden Globes 2018. GettyImages