Ten women have filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against fashion mogul Peter Nygard and his business entities. The complaint accuses Nygard of sex trafficking and rape, all financed and facilitated by his family of corporations and their employees. Most of Nygard’s alleged victims were under the age of 18 at the time of the crimes.
The lawsuit, filed by Greg Gutzler, Amy Keller, Mark DiCello, and Adam Levitt of DiCello Levitt Gutzler, along with Lisa Haba of the Haba Law Firm, also names a series of New York-based Nygard corporate entities as defendants, for their role and the role of their employees in financing, facilitating, and covering up the abuse. According to the lawsuit, Nygard lured and enticed young, impressionable, and often impoverished children and women with cash payments and false promises of lucrative modeling opportunities in order to assault, rape, and sodomize them. When the victims were not swayed by promises, many were drugged to force compliance with Nygard’s sexual desires. Many of the incidents occurred at Nygard’s luxury Mayan-style mansion at Lyford Cay in the Bahamas.
The complaint alleges that the victims, lured to lavish "pamper parties" by the promise of fame and fortune, were plied with drugs and alcohol and then violently assaulted. The sex acts detailed in the complaint include forced anal sodomy and scatophilia.
While Nygard has previously, and on multiple occasions, been accused of rape and sexual misconduct, the complaint alleges that he has managed to dodge accountability by resorting to violence, intimidation, bribery, and payoffs in order to silence his victims and continue his depraved scheme. Nygard used his considerable influence in the fashion industry; his power through corruption of officials, including the Bahamian police; and a network of company employees under his direction, to groom and entice his victims.
"The facts detailed in the complaint come from years of investigation. After hearing these tragic stories, we were compelled to act and bring a voice to those who have been hurt for so long," Gutzler said. "We are proud to play some small part in bringing to light the rampant abuse and holding wrongdoers accountable. In investigating the claims of the brave women who came forward, it was impossible not to be horrified and moved by the pain they were forced to endure. We know many others were afraid to come forward initially and hope that this lawsuit will pave the way for them to also seek justice. The facts in this case represent the tip of the iceberg of an international sex trafficking ring that ends today."
According to the complaint, Nygard instructed his employees and associates to procure children, primarily young, vulnerable, and impoverished girls, knowing that they were powerless to hold him accountable. The complaint alleges that, for years, it has been no secret that Nygard bribes Bahamian government and police officials and uses intimidation tactics to coerce silence.
"Sex crimes are widely under-investigated and often swept under the rug," said Haba. "With this lawsuit, we aim to give these victims a voice and hold Mr. Nygard, and his network of accomplices, accountable for their horrendous conduct. The abuse stops here."
The Nygard-affiliated defendants, as described throughout the complaint, violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), intended to provide the tools to combat trafficking in persons both worldwide and domestically.
The case is Jane Does Nos. 1-10 v. Peter J. Nygard, et.al. Case No. 1:20-cv-01288 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. A copy of the complaint is available here and attorneys for the plaintiffs are available for comment upon request.
For more information, please visit: https://dicellolevitt.com/nygard-lawsuit/
About DiCello Levitt
DiCello Levitt combines excellence in commercial litigation, class action litigation, mass tort litigation, catastrophic injury litigation, medical malpractice litigation, and civil rights litigation. Practicing nationwide—and internationally—from offices in Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and St. Louis, we are an aggressive, attentive, and creative plaintiffs’ firm whose work speaks for itself—billions of dollars in recoveries in some of the highest-profile matters in U.S. history. Revered by clients and respected by defense counsel, our team gets results.
About Haba Law Firm
The Haba Law Firm is an upscale boutique law firm in the heart of Orlando, Florida, that provides excellence in civil litigation, criminal law, real estate litigation and family law. Haba Law prides itself on its aggressive and effective representation, honesty, and trauma-informed, victim centered advocacy. The unparalleled knowledge and experience with human trafficking and sexual abuse has resulted in Lisa Haba receiving numerous awards and recognitions for her work with survivors of human trafficking.
DiCello Levitt Gutzler