Lately it seems that Lisa Vanderpump is trying to give Sheree Whitfield a run for her money as the Real Housewife with the most legal problems.
There have been numerous lawsuits about Villa Blanca. There was the one brought by Martha Diaz, a pastry chef who worked at Villa Blanca alleges that yet another manager has created a hostile workplace and sexual harassment by her immediate supervisor Gustovo Molina. The suit alleges that beginning in March of 2014 Molina began to harass her by inappropriately touching her in a sexual manner including touching of her vaginal area. Molina and another kitchen worker would make sexually inappropriate comments toward Diaz in the course of her workday. The two would also pull up pornographic images on their cell phones and expose them to her. The two kitchen works would refer to Diaz as fat, ugly and call her a whore. They also places pornographic drawings in her work space and on her locker.
There was one brought by a Villa Blanca dishwasher, Ricardo Velasco, who sued Blanca LLC, Ken Todd and Lisa Vanderpump for breach of faith of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, disability discrimination, failure to provide reasonable accommodation, failure to engage in good faith interactive practices (specifically by acting with malice and oppression), wrongful termination, retaliation, willful failure to pay wages, and violation of business and professions code. For those counting, that’s a total of eight causes of action. His attorney asked for general, specific and punitive damages, attorney fees, his job back, and other restitution.
The was the Bustillos case where a waitress filed a hostile work environment action that included sexual harassment. This case went on for two years and ended with a large award to the plaintiff. The jury awarded $100K in damages and all attorney fees. And the judge later found Ken and Lisa both PERSONALLY liable for the putative damages. Lisa actually lied to the press and said that they won the lawsuit. Then they sued their attorney for losing the case.
Recently there was a lawsuit brought against them by another dog rescue that accused Ken of being aggressive toward the female plaintiff. That suit was dropped by the plantiff. Smells like they bought their way out of that to avoid yet another lawsuit where Ken is accused of aggressive behavior toward women. In that case, the other dog rescue claimed they failed to follow through on a proposed partnership and opened their own dog rescue instead, it seemed like a breach of contract case.
Which brings me to the latest case that am reading the court documents on. This case is brought by Fifi & Romeo a luxury dog clothing designer. No seriously, they are the real deal. The dress celebrity pets, including Oprah Winfrey’s and other rich folks, they dress dogs in movies like Legally Blonde, they are big time.
So here is what happened. In 2012, Ken and Lisa met the owners of Fifi & Romeo at the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards. They loved the fancy dog clothes. The following year Lisa and Ken asked Fifi & Romeo to make an out for Giggy to wear to the American Humane Association’s Dog Fashion show. They really loved the custom look.
Shortly thereafter, according to the court documents, Ken approached the owner and proposed a deal where they would make additional clothes for Giggy. Ken and Lisa would pay for only the materials and in exchange for the deep discount would give clothing credits for Giggy’s looks on all social media, and on every TV appearance.
So for a while that is what happened. Then in 2015 Ken and Lisa suggested that they partner on a dog clothing line. Basically, they wanted in on the successful business but they would be mass producing dogwear under the partnership name, Fifi & Romeo For Vanderpump Dogs. The owners agreed.
Within a week after the agreement was reached, Ken and Lisa stopped giving Fifi & Romeo credit for the looks on social media. In fact, the suit alleges that they even went back into their social media and misspelled the company name on posts where they had given credit. They also stopped paying for the manufacturing costs for Giggy’s clothes. They dodged phone calls made to request payment.
The next thing you know, Lisa Vanderpump announces she is starting her own line of dog clothes. The suit seems to claim that they took their designs to break down and use as patterns for their line. They are suing on multiple claims: breach of contract, fraud, conversion,and unjust enrichment. They are suing for all possible financial remedies at the discretion of the court.
This looks like an open and shut case to me.