Tag: lawsuit

Beverly Hills Sues Unite Here! Local 11

August 16, 2023 ·

BEVERLY HILLS—The City of Beverly Hills filed a lawsuit against a union representing striking hotel workers on Tuesday, August 15, claiming that their protests have drawn noise complaints from nearby residents.

The suit which was filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court is seeking a court order to direct demonstrators from the Unite Here! Local 11 to limit their protests to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Protestors are said to be using drums and bullhorns as early as 5:30 a.m. outside of the Beverly Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.

Residents have been reporting that they’ve been hearing screaming, shouting, and whistles in the area of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. BHPD have received reports and investigated. According to investigators, protesters refused to identify themselves expect for union representatives.

The union’s Co-President Kurt Petersen issued a statement Wednesday, August 16, regarding the lawsuit.

“It is beyond outrageous that the city of Beverly Hills is using its resources to stifle the First Amendment-protected protest activity of low-wage, immigrant workers,” the statement read. “These are workers who make its luxury hotels run and who are simply seeking a living wage. The city should be helping to lift them up, not attack them with baseless lawsuits.”

On July 24, City Manager Nancy Hunt-Coffey addressed another union leader from Unite Here! Local 11 named Sol and told her that the drums were disturbing residents. She asked that Sol and other union members delay their demonstrations until 8 a.m. and to stop using drums. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Sol responded.

On July 26, Capt. Giovanni Trejo of the BHPD went to the location where the protests were being held asking that one of the union representatives, Lorena Lopez, hold off on the noise before 8 a.m. According to the suit, “she indicated she would consider the request, but did not commit to complying.”

Later that day the police department responded to complaints from Beverly Hills staff and security who claimed that they were experiencing aggression from some of the protestors. Allegedly, the protesters broke through a barrier, injured a security guard, blew bullhorns in peoples ears, blocked traffic and screamed.

One Beverly Hills residents commented on social media shortly after the news of the lawsuit broke stating, “Residents are cry babies. Stay Strong Writers and SAG-AFTRA.”

George Vreeland Hill wrote his account of the protests in Beverly Hills on Facebook on July 25,” A lot of protesting going on in Beverly Hills. This one is at the Beverly Wilshire. There are others at the Waldorf and Beverly Hills Hilton. Probably other hotels as well. They are making a lot of noise. No contract, no peace? Try getting some sleep today.”

By Christianne

Ken Todd, Lisa Vanderpump Sued By Former Landlord

August 16, 2023 ·

WEST HOLLYWOOD—Ken Todd, who is reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump’s husband, was served legal papers on August 10th, at 8:33 p.m., from his former landlord for alleged unpaid rent on the couple’s now defunct restaurant PUMP in West Hollywood.

Earlier this month the landlord’s company, 8948 Santa Monica Partners, sued PUMP LLC and Todd seeking close to $1 million dollars for breach of rental contract among other allegations. The tenants agreed to pay $32,000 per month in rent back in 2013 which was later increased to $42,500 in 2020.

The landlords are suing for $150,000 in absconding the liquor license, $50,000 of stolen fixtures, $250,000 of unpaid rent, $950,000 in damages, an additional $750,000 in damages for breach of contract, and $200,000 for not transferring over the liquor license with an estimated fair market value of $150,000.

According to reports, Todd’s former landlord hired a process server to track him down and served the paperwork at the couple’s Villa Rose estate in Beverly Hills. The estate is said to be worth $12 million.

The court documents reveal that Todd was supposed to turn the liquor license over to the new renter but refused to after surrendering the property on July 13th. After the couple relinquished the property, a new restaurant was established, and Todd allegedly withheld the liquor license preventing the new business from opening. This cost the landlords approximately $56,500 of base rent and other charges.

Todd denies allegations of any wrongdoing, but the property owners claim that his promissory fraud was willful, malicious and made in bad faith with reckless disregard for the wrongful and tortious nature when he entered into the lease contract.

In an interview with Page Six, Todd stated that the aggressive behavior by the landlord will not be tolerated and added that they showed no forgiveness during the entire term of Covid.

Back in May, a month before PUMP closed down, Vanderpump claimed that the rent had reached an untenable amount. The property owners deny Vanderpump’s claim telling Page Six, “We did not raise the rent and in fact have been nothing but supportive as they tried to catch up on lease obligations including forgiving some rent during Covid.”

On August 9th, the couple announced that they had plans to countersue 8948 Santa Monica Partners for damages. In a statement Todd claimed, “When we took over the place known as Pump 10 years ago, it was an empty car park. There were no trees. We installed beautiful olive trees, and they belong to us. We did not take the trees; they are still there. We did not rip the chandeliers out like the landlord is claiming. We lovingly took the antiques out, which are now in our possession as they are also ours. You don’t normally find antique chandeliers hanging in a car park. The liquor license we have traded under for the last 10 years also belongs to us. We are happy to sell it to them at the fair market value.”

“As a result of the landlord’s actions, we will be filing a cross-complaint seeking compensatory and punitive damages for their conduct.”

By Christianne

Santa Monica Based Company Faces Class Action Lawsuit

May 23, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—Beachbody, a Santa Monica-based fitness company, is facing a class-action lawsuit where former exercise coaches are claiming that they were used as low-cost labor to help the company earn a profit, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times on Monday, May 22.

Jessica Lyons, a schoolteacher, who is named as one of the plaintiffs in the case, stated, “I thought becoming a coach for Beachbody was my opportunity to add a second stream of income with an added bonus of helping others reach their fitness goals,” Lyons said. “I didn’t realize how much Beachbody would demand of me and how little income I would see in return.” She is being represented by Tycho & Zavareei, a leading consumer protection class-action law firm, as well as L.A.-based Clarkson Law.

During Lyons employment with the company, she earned only an average of $50 a month in commission sales while putting in about 50 hours a month. During her time with the company, Lyons spent $20,000 in personal funds to pay for expenses related to her coaching role with Beachbody, including paying for new products to try out and the monthly service fee and traveling on her own dime to Beachbody’s annual conference for coaches, the lawsuit said.

Another plaintiff named in the suit claims that she was convinced to join the company after discovering a high-earning coach on YouTube living a glamorous lifestyle. She didn’t expect to be rich when she joined, but hoped to be a coach full-time and earn a reasonable income. The work she did included doing Beachbody workouts to maintain her fitness and back up her personal testimonials, creating content for Instagram, reaching out to people and responding to messages, and following up with clients. After being involved for three years with the Beachbody she found a full-time job and diminished her workload with the fitness company. 

Tycho & Zavareei indicated to Canyon News in an email that Beachbody “operates as a multi-level marketing business and relies on the “direct sales” exemption to California’s misclassification law to justify exploitation of sales personnel. The exemption was written decades ago, and is limited only to those making “primarily in person” sales. It does not reach modern e-commerce operations like Beachbody.  Beachbody’s sales personnel work as “Coaches” and market and sell fitness programs and nutritional supplements and other health and wellness-related goods and services, primarily through online channels and its own apps and platforms.”

“Beachbody exercises significant control over its coaches in their role as social media marketers, requiring them to adhere to extensive rules and regulations pertaining to pricing, advertising approaches, and the company’s intellectual property. Beachbody has created systems that funnel all sales leads towards Beachbody’s website and apps, where Beachbody accepts, processes, and fulfills the orders, while also retaining all customer information as well as the exclusive right to track the customers’ online activities for its own benefit. Because of this model, the plaintiffs allege that few people are making money under Beachbody’s compensation system,” the firm added. 

“MLMs are notorious for profiting off the unpaid work of their sellers, and Beachbody is no exception, relying on an outdated statutory exemption to justify exploiting its hard-working coaches by classifying them as independent contractors,” said Kristen Simplicio, a partner at Tycko & Zavareei LLP. “We applaud Ms. Lyons for taking this brave and important step to hold Beachbody accountable and do right by those who worked so hard to make the company what it is today.

A spokesperson for Beachbody issued a statement to Canyon News regarding this lawsuit:

“The independent contractor status of direct sellers is well recognized on a federal and state level. California’s updated contractor law (AB5) includes an express exemption for network marketing distributors as part of a well-established legal framework that allows distributors to remain independent and allows them to work as much or as little as they want, controlling their own schedule. We will vigorously defend ourselves against these allegations.”

By Christianne