U.S. District Court Judge settles sexual harrassment case against Steve Wynn, grants stipulation for dismissal

U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro, who presided over a 2019 sexual harassment lawsuit against Wynn Resorts Ltd. by nine anonymous women, has signed off on a settlement agreement first announced in September.

The development, occurring almost six years after a major scandal at Wynn began, granted a stipulation for dismissal with prejudice, which means the case will not be further appealed or brought back to court.

The legal action originated in September 2019 in a Nevada state court before being moved to U.S. District Court in October that same year. It was initially dismissed in July 2020 by a federal judge in Las Vegas, citing issues such as the use of pseudonyms and the absence of specific individual harassment claims, AP points out.

The judge’s action brings to a close a series of events at Wynn Resorts, ranging from the departures of several executives to a revamping of the company’s board of directors.

Over time, it has cost the Las Vegas-based company millions of dollars in fines and resulted in the permanent departure of one of casino gaming’s most recognizable figures, former chairman and CEO Steve Wynn. Furthermore, among those who departed was former Wynn Las Vegas President Maurice Wooden, who last week was named the new president of Fontainebleau Las Vegas.

U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro

The group of nine women, workers at Wynn and Encore Las Vegas’ salon, alleged they had been sexually harassed for years. They filed a lawsuit against the company and Steve Wynn in 2019, a year after he left the company.

In court filings, the women gave graphic descriptions of how the former CEO asked personal questions of a sexual nature, forced them to massage him near his genital area, and required them to provide services to him in secluded areas, including his office, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. For his part, Wynn said he has never harassed or sexually assaulted anybody

The court case filed by the women, who are referred to in court documents as “Judy Does Nos. 1-9”, took many twists and turns since it was first filed and initially heard by U.S. District Judge James Mahan in March 2019. In July 2020, Mahan said the women’s pleadings were too vague, and the case was forwarded to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate ruling, argued in October 2021, said the District Court action was in part affirmed but in part reversed and as a result was remanded to the District Court, where it was reassigned to Navarro.

The appellate court, in its ruling, said the Judy Does “repeatedly expressed a willingness to provide more information, so long as their privacy could be assured.”The court added that “while the Judy Does had no automatic right to file an amended complaint, the District Court still should have granted leave to amend when dismissing claims that could be cured with additional facts,” as reported by the above-mentioned media.

Wynn Resorts paid the Nevada Gaming Control Board $20 million in February 2019 for failing to investigate sexual misconduct claims made by employees. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission fined the company another $35 million and Wynn’s CEO successor, Matt Maddox, $500,000 for failing to disclose the allegations against Wynn when it was applying for a license there. Massachusetts also wanted to keep Wynn’s name off the building so it was named Encore Boston Harbor.

In June, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved a settlement with Steve Wynn for $10 million that essentially prevents him from participating in gaming in the state.