Despite Lisa Vanderpump tweeting out claims of victory in the court proceedings brought against them by a former Villa Blanca waitress,
Victory! It was principal,manager of vb vindicated by the jury unanimously on all charges,been a tough ten days at trial.
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.