Wynn Resorts has settled with nine anonymous women in a sexual harassment suit they filed in 2019. In the lawsuit, the women claimed they were victims of sexual harassment by the company’s former CEO, Steve Wynn, while the company was aware and did not act.
In a settlement notice, attorneys for Wynn Resorts reported that an undisclosed settlement had been reached. People familiar with the case expect the court not to reveal the amount. The attorneys requested the dismissal of the lawsuit and proposed a status check settlement conference within the next two months.
Wynn Resorts’ alleged coverup for its former CEO is costing the company millions. In 2019, Wynn Resorts paid a $20 million fine to the Nevada Gaming Commission. Three months later, it paid $35 million to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, while CEO Matt Maddox was fined an additional $500,000.
The settlement, first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, marks another step in Wynn Resorts’ attempts to distance itself from its former CEO and his alleged misconduct. The company can now turn its attention to a lawsuit by its investors, who claim they were deceived by Wynn Resorts when it allegedly covered up Wynn’s actions.
Steve Wynn has denied all accusations against him. In July, he agreed with the Nevada Gaming Control Board to pay $10 million to settle a sexual harassment suit, but he hasn’t admitted any wrongdoing. In another case, he’s turning to an appeals court in a defamation suit against a former Wynn Resorts employee.
Background on the Wynn Resorts Lawsuit
When they filed the suit, the plaintiffs still worked as manicurists or makeup artists at Wynn Salon or Encore Salon. The women chose to remain anonymous in the case and use “Judy Does Nos. 1-9” pseudonyms. They said that was to protect their identities against potential defamation lawsuits by the former CEO. While Steve Wynn has denied any misconduct, each woman gave detailed accounts of his alleged actions.
The reported settlement comes after going back and forth between district and appeals courts. US District Judge James Mahan initially presided over the suit filed in March 2019. Mahan ruled in July 2020 that the women’s pleadings were too vague, and the case went to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
In October 2021, the appellate court partially agreed with the ruling. However, it reversed the decision, returning the case to the district court. In its ruling, the appellate court allowed the Judy Does to remain anonymous to protect their privacy. The court said the women had “repeatedly expressed a willingness to provide more information.”
Steve Wynn Defamation Suit Goes to Appeals Court
Jane Does 1-9 used the pseudonyms to protect themselves against a potential defamation lawsuit like the one another former Wynn Resorts employee is facing. In 2018, Steve Wynn filed the suit against Jorgen Nielsen, former artistic director of Wynn Salon.
In a 2018 article by the Wall Street Journal, Nielsen alleged that Wynn had sexually harassed female employees for many years. That article was among the first to report on Wynn’s alleged misconduct. Wynn described Nielsen as a “disgruntled employee.”
Nielsen attempted to dismiss the suit using Nevada’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statutes. Anti-SLAPP’s aims to protect freedom of speech in the face of frivolous lawsuits. A district court initially dismissed Nielsen’s motion.
However, the Nevada Supreme Court sided with Nielsen in 2020 and sent the case back to the district court. In January 2022, the district court ruled that Wynn’s legal team hadn’t provided sufficient evidence to support their defamation claims.
Wynn’s lawyers contended that the anti-SLAPP law had been misapplied and Wynn’s right to a jury trial had been violated. But, according to a Sep. 6 report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a district court has denied Wynn the opportunity for a jury trial. The decision will most likely be appealed. An appellate court is not likely to make an immediate decision on the matter.