Harvey Weinstein is suing car maker Chrysler for $5 million over a 2019 crash.
The fallen Hollywood mogul, 70 – serving a 23-year jail sentence following his February 2020 conviction for sexual assault and rape – wants compensation for a smash that saw him flip a Jeep Wrangler while trying to swerve a deer.
His lawsuit, filed against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now owned by Stellantis, was lodged at New York Supreme Court on Tuesday (07.06.22) and claims the car firm provided him with an “unreasonably dangerous” vehicle in exchange for product placement in one of his films.
He claims the accident left him “catastrophically injured and rendered paralysed” with “significant and continuing conscious pain and suffering”.
A spokesperson for Stellantis told The Independent: “We do not comment on pending litigation. We intend to vigorously defend our product against these claims.”
Weinstein says the deer incident happened when he was driving his 2017 Jeep Wrangler at 8.55am through suburban Bedford, New York, around 40 miles outside Manhattan, on 17 August, 2019.
He claims the vehicle “failed to decelerate” despite his “application of the vehicle's braking system” as he approached the animal.
Weinstein, 70, underwent back surgery that December, and was seen hunched over a walker as he faced trial in New York for sexual assault.
His conviction on rape and assault charges was last week upheld by a New York appeals court.
A five-judge panel unanimously found in a 45-page ruling that trial Judge James Burke in the lower court did not prejudice the trial in favour of the prosecution during the landmark proceedings against Weinstein, sparked by the #MeToo movement.
He is awaiting trial in Los Angeles on other alleged sex crimes from 2004 to 2013.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to those charges, and has denied any non-consensual sexual encounters.
The ex-Miramax ‘Pulp Fiction’ producer got into the crash in upstate New York as he was set to face trial for his sexual advances on aspiring female actresses and colleagues.
According to the New York Post, witnesses said at the time of his crash the car wound up on its side and Weinstein had to kick his way out.
Attorney Gary Kaulich, representing the disgraced producer in the Chrysler lawsuit, says Weinstein’s injuries included “severe spine and back” damage.
He told the New York Post on Tuesday the fallen film titan has previously tried to settle with Chrysler outside of court, saying: “Negotiations went on for months and months, but Chrysler apparently never had any intention of resolving the case in good faith.”
A mass of sex assault allegations erupted against Weinstein in 2017, with almost 90 women including Angelina Jolie, 47, Salma Hayek, 55, and Gwyneth Paltrow, 49, accusing him of harassment or assault.