An attorney for a former Wynn Las Vegas salon manager, who said she was blacklisted and intimidated into silence after reporting to her supervisors that former CEO Steve Wynn had allegedly raped one of her employees in 2005, appealed a civil racketeering decision in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California Tuesday.
U.S. Circuit Judges Ryan Nelson, Bridget Bade and Danielle Forrest did not issue a ruling and gave no indication when a determination would be reached.
Steve Wynn denies ever assaulting anyone.
Attorney Jordan Matthews at Weinberg Gonser Frost LLP in Los Angeles told a three-judge panel Tuesday that Angelica Limcaco, who now lives in California, suffered financial losses as a result of legal fees she incurred in bringing the case to court.
The California case stems from a previous lawsuit filed Limcaco in federal court in Nevada in September 2018 in which she said she was fired after reporting the sexual assault allegations to Wynn Resorts executives. The Nevada case was dismissed in April 2019.
Limcaco’s civil lawsuit names Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts Ltd., former Wynn CEO Matt Maddox, former Wynn General Counsel Kimmarie Sinatra, ML Strategies LLC, former Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley and several other unnamed corporations as defendants.
ML Strategies, a Boston business consulting group, was named because it lobbied Massachusetts gaming regulators to approve licensing for Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor resort, which opened in 2019.
Buckley, now executive director of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, received campaign donations from Wynn Resorts when running for office dating to 2017. Limcaco’s attorneys say she improperly influenced a panel that named former Wynn Resorts lawyer Elayna Youchah to fill a magistrate judge vacancy in Las Vegas who eventually ruled on some of Limcaco’s court filings.
Limcaco’s attorneys argued that Youchah being tapped for the vacancy involved Buckley conspiring with Wynn Resorts.
Nelson told Matthews he thought it was a stretch to consider financial hardship for Limcaco since she brought the lawsuit.
“With all due respect, we have to paint the factual allegations as true, but you are stretching that to a legal conclusion so we don’t have to take it as true,” Nelson said in the hearing. “(What) you are asking for (is) a stretch because you’re asking us to assume that there was legally improper influence here and you absolutely have no allegation that she (Youchah) actually improperly influenced this. You just say she was appointed to this.”
Attorney Austin Norris of Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s Los Angeles office, who represented Wynn Resorts and Maddox, said Nelson was “absolutely correct that there are several reasons why the theories here don’t constitute statutory standing under civil RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).”
He also said there was no 9th Circuit Court precedence that has ever recognized legal fees as a specific injury to business or property sufficient to grant RICO standing.
Attorney Nathan Holcomb, representing Buckley, said the allegations “don’t add up to any wrong-doing by Buckley.”