Judge Kevin Brazile has denied a motion by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to dismiss portions of the lawsuit brought by its former publicist Michael Russell, paving the way for the litigation to move forward to court.
The group is best known for producing the popular annual awards show, the Golden Globes.
Russell slapped the organization last January with a $2 million suit alleging a glittering array of unethical practices by the group's members, including accepting money and gifts from studios in exchange for nominating their films, and selling media credentials for personal profit.
Judge Brazile also denied a motion to dismiss portions of a related lawsuit filed against the HFPA and its chairman Philip Berk by the nonprofit charity Stars for a Cause.
In a suit filed just weeks after Russell's bombshell accusations, Stars for a Cause alleged that Berk and the HFPA sabotaged its relationships with a number of corporate sponsors that had supported its charity campaigns, including Chrysler and celebrity TV new show Entertainment Tonight.
Berk and the HFPA now have 20 days to answer Russell's complaint.
A spokesperson for the HFPA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
James Ramsey, an attorney for Russell's company and Stars for a Cause, hailed the decision.
By rejecting the efforts of the HFPA and Philip Berk to avoid answering the charges in these lawsuits, the judge's ruling effectively closes the door on the first stage of the cases and rings in the discovery round, which will begin in earnest, Ramsey said in a statement.
The Russell and Stars suits are not the only legal challenges facing the HFPA. The organization sued Dick Clark Productions last November, claiming that the production company -- the longtime producer of the Golden Globes -- improperly negotiated a new contract with NBC to air the awards.
Originally scheduled for this past September, that case may not go to trial until next July, after the judge who was originally intended to hear the case became sick.