Peter Nygard has filed a motion to dismiss claims made by 50 of 57 Jane Doe plaintiffs.
The beleaguered apparel executive has faced a litany of legal problems in recent years. In late April, a Jane Doe lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of New York was amended to include more unidentified women, alleging that they were victims of Nygard’s sexual misconduct. Nygard and his company Nygard Holdings LLC allegedly “knowingly conspired, aided and abetted, and participated in illegal sex trafficking,” the suit alleged. Their claims included that the “guise of modeling” and other career opportunities were used to try to entice women.
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In their latest filing on Wednesday, attorneys for Nygard claimed that 50 of the 57 plaintiffs fail in their entirety for lack of personal jurisdiction since neither defendant is subject to jurisdiction in New York. Nygard’s legal team is trying to strike the class allegations in the plaintiffs’ second amended class-action complaint. The filing noted that the events in question allegedly occurred at different times, “often decades apart” and in different locations and “under unique circumstances, and thus necessarily will involve individualized proof and defenses.” His attorneys claimed that those allegations are “not subject to or eligible for class treatment and must be stricken.”
A spokesman for Peter Nygard issued the following statement, “The motion to dismiss addresses numerous deficiencies in plaintiffs’ claims that bar 52 of the 57 plaintiffs’ claims in the pending case and further preclude in this case from proceeding as a class action. As to the five remaining plaintiffs’ claims, Mr. Nygard is confident that he will be vindicated when all relevant facts are presented.”
The filing contends that the 50 plaintiffs’ claims lack any connection to New York. That precludes the exercise of specific jurisdiction over the claims, Nygard’s lawyers stated. In addition, Nygard is not a citizen or resident of New York, and never maintained a bank account or paid taxes in New York. Nygard also claimed that he has rarely traveled to New York in the past 18 months.
Nygard’s legal team argued, “Due to the lack of connections between either defendant and New York, and these plaintiffs’ claims and New York, any exercise of jurisdiction over defendants with respect to these plaintiffs’ claims would violate the due process.”
In March, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement officials raided Nygard’s Times Square offices and his Marina del Ray, Calif., home as part of the sexual assault investigation. That said, Nygard subleased the company’s Times Square offices in Manhattan earlier this year. In an interview with WWD earlier this year, an executive at Accessories Direct, the current tenant in Nygard’s former New York office, said the location had an apartment on an upper floor.
The Nygard legal team alleged that some of the plaintiffs’ claims were time-barred, based on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act’s 10-year statute of limitations.
Lisa Haba, an attorney for the plaintiffs, acknowledged a request for comment Thursday but declined to provide one.
In addition to this ongoing legal action, Nygard has been dealing with the liquidation of his namesake companies’ retail properties. And in May, his attorneys filed a motion to amend his racketeering complaint against Louis Bacon.
Nygard and Bacon own neighboring properties in Lyford Cay, a tony enclave in the Bahamas. What started as a property dispute has evolved into years of battling in and out of court.
Asked about the latest legal filing by Nygard, a spokesman for Bacon declined comment Thursday.