Disney’s attempt to keep certain documents sealed in a Toronto lawsuit which accuses the company of negligence in alleged sexual assaults from defendant Harvey Weinstein has failed. The motion was judged by Master P. Tamara Sugunasiri, who quoted Madame de Stael in her ruling, saying,”Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man; its publication is a duty. Disney had not met the high threshold set out by our Supreme Court of Canada to curb the open court principle.”
The lawsuit was filed by a Toronto actress who claims that she was sexually assaulted twice by Weinstein in a hotel room in 2000; Ontario does not have a statute of limitations involving sexual assault cases. She also alleges that Disney, who owned Weinstein’s company Miramax, was partly responsible for Weinstein’s crimes, and names them as a co-defendant.
Disney has denied all knowledge of Weinstein’s alleged crimes, stating that while working for Disney the defendant had “virtual autonomy.” In an effort to prove this, the company has three employment agreements it intends to provide the court, but desired to present them under seal for confidentiality reasons.
The court dismissed the request to keep the documents sealed, stating that the confidentiality obligations extended to Weinstein, not Disney. Sugunasiri wrote, “I am not persuaded that Disney requires a sealing order over the agreements in order to prevent a serious risk of an important interest.”
Disney is not under any obligation to provide these documents, but if it wishes to use them as evidence it will have to do so publicly. Disney may be able to have portions of the documents redacted, but only after consultation with the plaintiff’s counsel.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter