I’m really not in the right headspace to work on a post about a court case, so I’m just going to give a brief rundown of what my source told me what went on in the courtroom. My source was in court to support Bustillos. The source feels as though Bustillos was grossly mistreated by Ken and Michael Govia. The main reason that Govia was not held liable is that the he was accused of battery, which was allegedly shown on surveillance video. According to a video deposition of Andrew Morrison, then general manager at Villa Blanca, Ken made sure the video disappeared after the lawsuit was filed. Therefore, the testimony came down to a he said, she said situation and the jury felt that the battery was not proven. However, the testimony from Morrison did convince them that Villa Blanca was liable for harassment (hostile work environment), discrimination based on gender, unsafe work environment and wrongful termination.
It also appears from his testimony that Bustillos was given two days off with pay after the incident while Morrison tried to work with Ken to solve the problem. Morrison testified that Ken (and Pandora!) not only refused to pay her the $300 for the two days (Just like they would not pay the injured dishwasher for his recovery time.) but they were unwilling to work her schedule out so she could be on the schedule only when Morrison was the supervisor. To me it just seems like a series of bad decisions were made by Ken.
If they had made a few different decisions, this whole thing could have been avoided at a total cost of $300. But now, the restaurant will be responsible for six figures of attorney fees, just for Bustillos’ attorney, not to mention what they are paying their attorney to come up with 32 ways to say the were not guilty of any illegal activities.
Another fun fact, Scheana Marie was dragged in to testify for the defense and against her former friend and co-worker despite not witnessing anything. No wonder she is Lisa’s favorite waitress.
Below are the relevant portions of the deposition of Andrew Morrison. Interestingly enough, Morrison is no longer employed by Villa Blanca.
Q. Did you go through the surveillance videos before you met with Michael and then again with
A. I would imagine, yes.
Q. And did you — you said there were 16 cameras?
Q. Was that a “yes”?
Q. How many cameras was there footage that you used to show Ken?
Q. Okay. It was only one camera that caught any of this?
A. Well, no. There was one camera that showed the host stand, but it just showed two people talking; and then there was one camera in the back service station that showed the incident.
Q. Okay. And you put the videos on your phone?
A. I made a recording of it through — of my — through my phone of the TV screen.
Q. You played the videos –
A. I played the video, I made a recording on
05 my phone holding it, and then I had a copy on my phone.
Q. Did you ever give Ken a copy?
Q. From your phone?
A. From my e-mail.
Q. Did you e-mail him the copy that you recorded on your phone?
Q. Was that in your work e-mail?
Q. Would that have been on the Saturday as well?
A. I would imagine, yeah.
Q. When you were sitting down with him, you showed him the video and said this happened?
Q. What did he say in response to that?
A. He said it was hard to see and that he couldn’t really see anything. And then we — I went — in further detail, I told him, “This is Michael here, here.” And he said, “Okay.”
“This is something we need to deal with. How do you want to handle this course of action?”
And he said, “Well, if we admit it happened, then we’re accepting fault.”
I said, “Yes.” I said, “It’s something that we need to deal with it. It was an action that
shouldn’t have occurred.”
But he was more concerned with the media getting ahold of it and didn’t want to admit that the situation happened.
Q. Okay. What else did you say during that conversation?
A. I advised against it, but it’s his restaurant, and he wanted — he didn’t want the media to get involved. He did not want to accept that the situation happened.
Q. Did you –
A. I recommended that he — that we keep her on my shifts for the time being and to see how the course of actions kind of played out. And when — so she was on my shift for a couple of shifts, and then when she came back for her — from her vacation. I was trying — to go back to earlier, I believe there was two shifts that I know she missed for sure. But I know that I had her on my schedule for a couple of days as well where she was not working with Michael.
And then when she came in that — one of those Fridays where she was upset, and I told her I would be in shortly to talk to her about it, she then left because she saw Michael. And that’s when we knew that she wasn’t comfortable working with him. So I took it to Ken again to speak about it. Karina had also asked when she was going to get paid for those two shifts that she missed, and I said I would speak with Ken and get back to her.
And then Ken — at this point, I’m speaking with Ken and Pandora Sabo. I can’t remember the exact day, but it was in the evening shortly after that; and we were sitting or standing by the wine area that stores the bottles upstairs, and she said — I said, “You need to make sure that Karina 25 only works on my shift. No ifs, ands, buts about it.”
And I told Ken that I thought the situation would escalate. Pandora then chimed in and said, “Well, she doesn’t want” — “she already doesn’t want to work with Dan. You can’t have her not work with Michael, too. That’s absurd.”
And Ken said something along the lines, “Well, she should be lucky to be here.” She is — I said, “She’s looking for the money for the two days.”
He said, “No. We can’t give that. She needs to either get over it or go find a job somewhere else.”
So she was kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place where there was a situation wrong that we should have accepted fault for within the restaurant, and the owner didn’t want the media to get ahold of it and then tried to kind of cover up the situation a little bit by not accepting fault. And it really came down to — she was really only looking for $300 for the two missed shifts that she had, and the owner didn’t want to pay it.
Q. Okay. Did Ken tell you what to do about the videotape during your meeting with him on that first Saturday?
A. That first Saturday after e-mailing to him?
A. There was a point in time where he did ask if I had deleted the video, and I had.
Q. Okay. The actual –
A. The one off my phone.
A. To my knowledge, I don’t know if there was another hardcopy made, but Erica let me have access to the cameras, and she would have been the one that — in the past that made recordings for Ken.
Q. Okay. How did you get on — you said you took a video on your phone.
Q. How were you planning to do that?
A. Just off the — on the iPhone, you have the video record; so I pushed play on the recording of the video, and I just held it up to the screen so you can still record it. Nothing was recorded through the machine. It was just through the video camera. It was a recording of a recording.
Q. So there was — to your knowledge, there was never a saved version of that besides the one that you took?
Q. Did you ever take any action to create another copy of that besides you recording it on your phone?
Q. At what point did Ken tell you — or at what point did Ken ask you if you had deleted the video from your phone?
A. When the lawsuit came out. Sometime shortly after that.
Q. And what did you say at that point?
A. “I deleted it.”
Q. What did he say?
A. He asked if I deleted it, and I said, “Yes.” “Okay. Good.”
Q. He said, “Okay. Good”?
A. Not — don’t quote me on that. Something along those lines.
Q. He was happy that the video was deleted?
Q. Is that your understanding?
A. There’s — I can’t speak for his feelings. I am not him. But he — I think he asked me if I deleted it, and his response was not negative. It was, “Okay.” Something along those lines. I don’t know his exact words.
Punitive damages will be assigned along with attorneys fees on Tuesday.