LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Indiana Pacers owner Herbert Simon and his wife Bui Simon decisively won their third trial in recent weeks against claims brought by a former household employee and vowed today to aggressively pursue their defamation lawsuit against the attorney who represented former employees in all three trials.
A Superior Court jury deliberated only 30 minutes on Thursday before unanimously rejecting the claims of Beverly Du Jacques, a former estate manager at the Simons' Montecito, CA home. Ms. Du Jacques was the fourth former employee represented by attorney Joseph A. Davis to have her employment discrimination claims either rejected unanimously by a jury or thrown out by a judge.
"These claims were meritless from the start and should never have been brought," said Mrs. Simon. "We had no choice but to fight. This was a tedious process, but we are pleased that we chose to defend our family's name and integrity and that we won clear victories in all three cases."
Ms. Du Jacques had claimed she was forced to resign because she refused to supervise two workers she claimed were undocumented, one of whom (a housekeeper) she claimed she was ordered to pay in cash because she was an undocumented worker. After her lawsuit was filed in May 2010, her attorney, Mr. Davis, told WTHR in Indianapolis that Ms. Du Jacques was fired "because my client refused to engage in an unlawful, meaning a criminal, act pursuant to our immigration laws…"
The Simons' attorneys, Patricia Glaser and Joel Klevens of Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard, Avchen & Shapiro LLP, presented evidence showing that the housekeeper in question had been a U.S. citizen for years before she worked for the Simons and that the other employee also possessed documents entitling him to work in the United States. The housekeeper was paid in cash because she had worked only 39 hours during all of 2008 while filling in for a full-time employee who was taking time off.
The jury also was shown letters Ms. Du Jacques had written to the Simons indicating she had resigned for personal reasons, including one letter in which she stated: "It breaks my heart that I can no longer work for the Simon Family. It has been a joy knowing you and a privilege serving The Simon's."
"The Simons are wonderful people and wonderful employers who have been totally vindicated, and justice was truly served," said Ms. Glaser.
In September, Superior Court Judge Amy D. Hogue rejected the employment claims of the Simons' former nanny, Claudia Leite Muehler, and former driver, Robert G. Young, ruling that the testimony of the former employees was not credible. The Simons said the Court's ruling was vindication.
In November, a Superior Court jury unanimously decided the claims of a second former nanny, Mayra Acosta, were without merit and that Ms. Acosta, who originally claimed she was owed $500,000 in back wages and for other damages, was owed nothing. That jury also deliberated for only 30 minutes before returning a unanimous verdict that nanny Ms. Acosta had been paid for every hour she had worked for the Simons.
All three lawsuits received extensive media coverage when they were filed in early 2010 because of the public profile of Mr. Simon, an NBA owner and the founder of Simon Property Group, Inc., and Mrs. Simon, a former Miss Universe from Thailand and founder of the Angels Wings Foundation charity for underprivileged children.
After the former employees' lawyer, Joseph A. Davis, in an interview with WTHR in Indianapolis, accused the Simons of a "criminal act," the Simons filed a suit alleging Mr. Davis had made false, malicious and defamatory statements about them to the media.
The Simons' complaint against Mr. Davis states: "By this lawsuit, the Simons seek to clear their names, and to recover all other appropriate relief from Davis, including punitive damages in an amount necessary to punish Davis for his unprofessional, reprehensible behavior and to deter him and others similarly situated from engaging in such conduct in the future."
SOURCE Herbert and Bui Simon