Bad News for Lisa Vanderpump and Villa Blanca

Lisa Pumo Rules SurDespite Lisa Vanderpump tweeting out claims of victory in the court proceedings brought against them by a former Villa Blanca waitress,

Lisa Vanderpump@LisaVanderpump 45m

Victory! It was principal,manager of vb vindicated by the jury unanimously on all charges,been a tough ten days at trial. #truthprevailed

The tweet is EXTREMELY misleading.  While the jury did exonerate the assistant manager, Michael  Govia, of liability, they found that Villa Blanca acted with malice against Karina Bustillos in the aftermath of the incident. She was awarded $6,250 in actual damages and this decision means that the trial moves on to a second phase where punitive damages will be assessed. I’m not really sure how the person who was alleged to have committed the act could be found not liable when the restaurant was. But here is the explanation by BHCourier:

(CNS) – A Los Angeles jury today awarded $6,250 to a server who alleged she was sexually harassed by an assistant manager during the time she worked at a Beverly Hills restaurant owned by “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Lisa Vanderpump and her husband.

The panel exonerated the assistant manager, Michael Govia, while finding the Villa Blanca restaurant liable. The jury also found the restaurant acted with malice, a decision that allowed Karina Bustillos’ attorneys to proceed with an attempt to win punitive damages.

The panel will hear evidence in that portion of the trial on Tuesday.

Govia smiled and was hugged by his attorneys after the verdict, while a weeping Bustillos was comforted by those with her.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Lisa Maki, commented later, telling reporters, “We’re pleased they found in favor of Ms. Bustillos and against Villa Blanca.”

The second phase of trial could not go forward today because Bustillos’ lawyers maintained they were not provided tax returns and other records needed to establish the net worth of the restaurant. Maki said the only documents turned over were unauthenticated profit-and-loss statements.

Bustillos filed her case in October 2012, naming Govia, the restaurant, Vanderpump and the reality star’s husband, Ken Todd. Vanderpump, who testified briefly on Tuesday, sat with her husband in court for about 30 minutes this afternoon as the lawyers discussed the punitive damages phase of trial with the judge.

Bustillos maintained Govia caused pain in her wrists when he took hold and twisted them after she asked for change for a $20 bill so she could distribute tips at the end of her shift on Aug. 13, 2012. Four months earlier, Govia tried to kiss her, the plaintiff alleged.

Judge Michael Linfield found that Villa Blanca would be able to pay the damages owed Bustillos and that therefore Vanderpump and Todd would not be sharing liability with their restaurant under a legal “alter ego” theory.

Linfield also dismissed one of the jurors because she is scheduled to start a new job Monday. The decision leaves the panel without any more alternates, but the judge said he expects the punitive damages phase to be completed Tuesday.

Did Lisa really think people would take her word for it and not read any of the papers?  This really makes me question her veracity. I’m just saying.  It’s not normal to lose a sexual harassment trial and then claim not just victory, but “truth prevailed.” Very odd.


Filed under Ken Todd, Lisa Vanderpump, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, RHOBH

46 responses to “Bad News for Lisa Vanderpump and Villa Blanca

  1. Shirleyg

    Told you she was funny style, she’s fake TT.

  2. Vanessa W

    I’m am forever team lisa fan, but that is weird. Like you said how could the guy Michael be off the hook but the restaurant still loses the case. And what victory was made here, is it the fact that they only have to pay out 6,000?

    • ​Oh they haven’t gotten to the actual punitive damages yet. What I don’t get is what the actual damages of 6K were supposed to cover.

      On Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 9:27 PM, Tamara Tattles wrote:


      • Vanessa W

        Yeah I didn’t get the 6,000. and you know at first I honestly didn’t care about this case but now I’m looking toward to the punitive damages

      • Micheal

        Just a quick guess from a law student but maybe it covered lost wages (time between leaving Villa Blanca and whatever her next job was) and any medical out of pockets (if she went to see a GP or something), minor filing fees etc. It’s a small amount and considering the alleged wrist grab I doubted her actual damages would be anywhere near the 40k that was offered to make her go away. Unfortunately with punitive damages anything can happen, depends how likeable the defendants are in comparison to the plaintiff.

    • MicroOp

      Perhaps there wasn’t enough evidence against him but plenty to prove the restaurant reacted to the complaints inappropriately?

      • Marilyn

        That’s what I think happened. The waitress didn’t have proof beyond a reasonable doubt (probably because she didn’t bruise) and when she pursued the complaint the company made her life a living hell. No bueno Lisa and Ken – you have to take these complaints seriously.

      • Vanessa

        Makes sense because technically they should have done something no matter wether they believed her or not, bet you this will be a lessened learned

  3. wikunia

    Villa Blanca acted with malice against Karina. I wonder what they did to her.
    Did they fire her? Obviously Karina was making false accusations against the assistant manager. Why should they keep her?

  4. vivaladiva831

    I love Lisa but you know she is a bitch in real life!

    • Marilyn

      I think if Lisa likes you she doesn’t mind if you mistreat other people. I mean when Brandi was useful to her she didn’t mind that Brandi was outrageous and mean to others. In fact, Lisa got a kick out of it. I think she probably likes this manager and ignored this girl’s complaints but unlike reality tv – the law holds people accountable. That’s why work places take these complaints seriously.

      • Din

        And during the first season when they all still thought Kyle was going to be the queen bee she didn’t mind Kyle being so mean and petty, she just stood there beside her and never intervened.

      • kKarma

        Thank you &AMEN finally two people can see through Lisa you both described her well.

        God forbid anyone says anything negative bout Lisa. I don’t hate but i can certainly see through her.

        If Brandi said what she said about adrian about Lisa all hell would break lose. Yet Lisa thought it was ok & even stood up for Brandi all because Adrian accused Lisa of leaking stories to the tabloids which i really don’t believe she did i do believe Adrian did the leaking

        Im certainly no fan of Brandi but all Brandi did to Lisa was call her out whether its true or not & we’ve all seen the way Lisa reacted that.

  5. MzKRB

    When I read it, what they are on the hook for is probably making it a hostile environment towards the employee after the accusation. So, they found that he didn’t do what she say he did; but the staff/restaurant treated her like shit as a result of the accusation. (which is not far fetched if we look at how staff resorts to pack like mentality when they feel that someone they like has been mistreated.) I take it that Lisa was standing up for the employee being accused of the behavior. That’s my take when reading it.

    • Yeah, that is sort of what I took from it as well.

    • Vanessa W

      Oh that makes sense, I was wondering what truth she was talking about but I guess it’s truth for the actual employee being accused

    • i like lisa, but we’ve all seen how she reacts when someone tells her she has done something hurtful: she could care less, & is cold as ice. usually she does things continuously here & there to get back at you. how a business reacts when an accusation is made, truthful or not, is important. curious to see if they did anything to her that the jury will respond to. forget the law re malice here, but usual rewards are a standard amount times actual expenses/losses.

      • Vanessa

        That’s so true she is my fave HW but def dismissive when she feels you have done her wrong, however I did think that the girls claims weren’t completely ridiculous I just thought the amount she was asking for made her seem way less credible, but I guess we’ll see when TT gives the update.
        On a side note I still like her as a HW, but I do think she is probably a, excuse my language, but a bitch when it comes to business

      • may i say malice is really hard to prove in california. the fact that the charge made it out of earlier hearings and the jury is looking at malice to determine punitive damages is huge here. there has to be some mighty good stuff in those court docs. the fact that lisa/vb offered her $40k to go away is also huge. i do like lisa the best of rhobh, besides joyce, so i’m preparing to be really disappointed. almost dont want to find out.

  6. kKarma

    This really makes no sense whatsoever how can the restaurant be accountable and not this assistant manager when he was the 1 that actually harassed or sexually abused the young lady

    Im a Lisa fan but Im not blind or stupid enough to believe that she’s the saint most people believe her to be she’s human like everyone else don’t forget that she’s also a savvy business women you don’t get that far by being all nice & sweet she certainly knows how to play the game

    • SoCalCPA

      That’s the beauty of creating an LLC — they’re separate legal entities held apart from the members (owners, employees). Villa Blanca is taking personal liability for this incident, while the manager in question is not held liable

  7. Cat

    I’m wondering if the sexual encounters on Vanderpump Rules had anything to do with the decision? I mean, I know what went on there was consentual, but the editing gave the impression that the SUR staff was out of control, and Lisa did nothing to reign her staff in?

    I’ve never worked in a restaurant, and especially in LA, but every place I’ve worked has had strict rules on anything that could remotely be considered sexual harassment. Just witnessing what went on could make someone uncomfortable…know what I mean?

    I know this is about another restaurant, but they are owned by the same people….chances are, these things are allowed there, too. If Lisa continuously looked the other way at SUR, but knew from the footage these things went on at her business, it’s not much of a stretch to think it happened at the other restaurant, too.

  8. Valerie

    Hmm. So let me see if I have this straight. He (Michael) was smiling, and She (Karina) was weeping and had to be comforted by her people. With this sentence alone it seems as if it’s a loss for Karina as she is the one weeping, even though there are some $6,000.00 in actual damages awarded. So, Michael is off the hook, who is the person that she accused of sexually harassing her, but the judge says the restaurant acted with malice. So now Karina’s attorneys have the opportunity to win even more damages, just not against the guy she accused in the first place. What the hell? I will tell you who the only winners are in this case and it’s the attorneys. As everyone knows I’m a Lisa lover and this just pisses me off. I am going to have to see some proof of this malice since Michael was exonerated.

    I’m going to give Lisa the benefit of the doubt on this one because I really want to believe in her. I don’t know her and never will but she’s completely charmed me.

    Thanks TT for your blog. I am really gonna be watching and reading what you think about phase two coming up. Again, I’m confounded.

    • I have new info, Valerie, so enjoy one more evening of giving Lisa the benefit of the doubt, because that is all the time you have. It’s bad news for Lisa and Ken. But you will likely only hear it here.​

      On Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 11:34 PM, Tamara Tattles wrote:


      • Valerie

        Thanks Tamara for letting me enjoy this last evening in ignorant bliss:)

        I’m dying to know though.

      • Micheal

        Damn I actually like Lisa and Ken. Oh well I guess they wouldn’t be so successful if they were not a bit cutthroat.

      • Vanessa W

        Is it bad that I’m so anxious to hear this news lol. TT I swear you are hands down my favorite blogger

      • Valerie

        You and me both Vanessa. I usually don’t read TT at work because once I get started I lose track of time, but tomorrow (actually today, as it is 1:30 a.m. Pacific Time) I plan on checking in a couple times in the afternoon. I’m very curious.

        I really like both Lisa and Ken as so many other commenters do, so I love that I can keep up with them on this blog. I wish the show was taping while all this is going down, but Lisa is probably glad it isn’t. That is, of course if she signs up for another season of peace and harmony that is the HWOBH. I love my Lisa fix.

  9. lori

    I guess it’s the point that the courts believed that the girl was lying, just as obviously Lisa must have thought which is why she treated her with “malice” in the first place. I can understand what she meant by that tweet. It’s so stupid for them (Villa Blanca) to have done that. In this day and age, as a boss or business owner, everyone knows that that is not the way you handle this sort of thing, whether you believe the person or not. I know that may be hard to do if you really believe that the person is wrongfully accusing someone, especially if the person accused is your friend, which is really common in a restaurant type business, but that’s just the way it is.

  10. Dracla Dunning

    When I was employeed a complaint of sexual harassment had to filed in a timely manner with my supervisor. The supervisor had the instructions to immediately kick it up higher to his manager, relenquishing him of any further responsibility and so forth until the complaint reached the proper person to handle the charge for investigation. The bottom line was that the company was ultimately responsible for the actions of the supervisor. I would say the verdict did find some evidence of misconduct on the part of the manager, hence the slap on a wrist of $6000, but found the real fault in failing to remedy the situation to be the that of the owners. Because the owners failed to calm the waters stemming from the charges, she was probably made to work in a living hell if I had to judge the work staff’s behavior from what I have viewed of SUR. Ken and Lisa may have made significent changes to her work position with changes to assignments, blocking her ability to move ahead for a promotion, a significant change in her duties, etc. These types of retaliations are unlawful. I am not a business owner so I really can’t say how wise it is to tout the innocence of an employee who has put my business at risk financially and publicly.

  11. Josie

    I’m not a lawyer but the way I read the article is that there was no sexual harassment which is why there was only a 6k award. The manager was vindicated. I would see that as a win too considering how much she could have had to pay for sexual harassment. It looks like they are saying that the restaurant handled it improperly. You have to bend over backward when employees make a claim against you. Funny thing is this same manager is probably the one that handled the human resources aspect of it and obviously didn’t do a good enough job. Owners usually aren’t involved with the day to day innocent on harassment but guilty on the way it was handled. Or was Lisa Or Ken involved personally with dealing day to day with her complaints and claims?

    I live in NY and work for a fortune 500 company and you wouldn’t believe the documentation it takes to fire someone. In fact, for the past three years, once a year they makes us take a course for sex harassment, three hours long, how we can’t take anything from vendors because it could look like a quid pro quo for business etc and we sign electronically. All to cover their asses. Also it makes it easier to fire someone.

    • ​Do you do much reading at your job?

      On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 7:07 PM, Tamara Tattles wrote:


      • Josie

        I feel honored that you snarked at me. Feel like part of the TT family! No need to do it too often though cause you’ll hurt my little feelings… you and your blog ☺

      • Ha! grow a thick skin. And you are a part of the TT cult. Gawd how I hated those sited with a “family”. I dunno if cult should be the word, but it beats “family” ugh.

      • lori

        I vote for troops (TTT) or clan (definitely with a “C”).

      • frenchpoodlename

        Could we be an “observance” (of hermits)? There’s no collective noun for Oracles but we could be a “divination”? Or a clowther of cats or a slither of critics? Or “The Tea Set”?

      • Valerie

        I vote for cult.

    • kKarma

      I understand what you mean however Lisa is very involved in her restaurants she’s there daily and finds out everything she even admitted it on tv that there isn’t anything that’s she doesn’t know about her staff and the businesses

  12. frenchpoodlename

    Surely Lisa’s tweet should read “Pyrrhic victory! Principle…”

  13. frenchpoodlename

    Next I hope to see hauteur, disdain and cold-shouldering assessed by a jury. Costs of a cold climate.

  14. Josie

    Only in America can a jury decide that there was no sexual harassment, essentially the charges are false, yet need to decide damages for being treated poorly after making false allegations.

    So you and all of your employees have to kiss her ass after she made false allegations and/or fire the manager (who may be innocent) to cover your ass so you don’t get sued. Also, if your employees liked the manager, and disliked her, you need to tell them to be sure to kiss her ass so as not to create a hostile environment. Makes perfect sense to me!

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