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Breest v. Haggis

Full Name: Breest v. Haggis

In one of the few cases of the MeToo era that has been litigated in civil court, the firm represented a young woman who alleged she was raped by the director Paul Haggis after a film premiere in New York City in 2017. In 2019, the Firm argued and won a landmark decision in the New York Appellate Division upholding the claim against Haggis under the New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law, a powerful City law that gives victims of gender violence a cause of action in court and the right to seek damages and attorneys’ fees. The Appellate Division held that rape and sexual assault are necessarily motivated by gender and therefore covered by the City law. This ruling makes it easier for plaintiffs to plead claims and access justice through the courts.

In 2022, a jury found Haggis civilly liable for raping Breest. Haggis was ordered to pay $7.5 million in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages, for a total verdict of $10 million.