October 19, 2020

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Nygard's lawyers argue U.S. federal court should throw out class-action suit

The legal team representing Peter Nygard in U.S. court has asked for the class-action lawsuit against him, which alleges decades of sexual abuse and human trafficking, to be dismissed with prejudice.

The notice of the motion was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Tuesday.

Nygard, who is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the Winnipeg Police Service, has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct by 57 women. The WPS has declined comment on the existence of its investigation, which the Free Press confirmed through interviews with alleged victims.

The motion advances multiple legal arguments for why the class action should be dismissed, including one centred on statute of limitations grounds and another on jurisdiction.

In the U.S., "dismissed with prejudice" means dismissed forever.

Nygard’s lawyers argue the matter should not be dealt with in a New York court, since the plaintiffs and Nygard do not live in the city, and much of the alleged conduct happened outside of the U.S. In total, the cases for 50 of the alleged victims should be thrown out due to jurisdiction, the lawyers wrote.

The motion further argues the statute of limitations has passed for 38 of the alleged victims, and unless they can show they had previously tried to pursue their allegations in court in a "timely" manner, their cases should be dismissed.

In addition, Nygard’s lawyers say individual allegations of sexual assault must be defended on an individual basis, and so the case should not be allowed to proceed as a class-action lawsuit.

"While defendants dispute plaintiffs' claims of sexual misconduct and are prepared to defend this case on the merits, the vast majority of the plaintiffs’ claims — including all of the claims asserted by 52 of the 57 named plaintiffs — fail as matter of law and must be dismissed," the motion reads.

"Moreover, plaintiffs’ claims (which arise out of a series of unconnected alleged incidents of sexual misconduct over a period of more than 40 years, will require individualized proof on the part of each plaintiffs, and are subject to individualized defences) are not eligible for class treatment, and must be stricken."

The lawsuit was first filed in U.S. court Feb. 13. Initially, it included the accounts of 10 women who claimed to have been drugged, raped and sodomized by Nygard. Since then 47 other women have signed onto the case.

Nygard, 78, has continually maintained his innocence in the face of the mounting rape allegations. He claims he’s at the centre of an elaborate conspiracy to ruin his reputation by people with a personal vendetta against him.

In a sworn affidavit submitted to the court, Nygard revealed that since Feb. 25 he has been located in Canada and considers Manitoba to be his permanent home.

On Feb. 26, U.S. law enforcement raided Nygard properties in New York and California in connection with a federal criminal investigation led by a joint child-exploitation task force.

The allegations against him have not been proven in court.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

   Read full biography

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