IBJNews

Judge poised to toss lawsuit against Pacers owner

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A judge suggested Wednesday that she plans to throw out key portions of a lawsuit by a nanny who claims she was fired by Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon and his wife because she became pregnant.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Amy Hogue, who planned to issue her decision Thursday, rebuffed hours of arguments by the attorney for nanny Claudia Leite, saying she didn't believe much of the nanny's testimony.

"I can't remember a case with so much impeaching testimony and things that didn't make sense," Hogue told Leite's attorney, Joseph Davis. "It's astounding."

She said she also doubted the testimony of a chauffeur who joined in the lawsuit.

The case offered insight into the lifestyle of a super-rich family with several homes and private jet. Simon, and his wife, Bui, a former Miss Universe, have homes in California and Indiana and travel with a staff that includes nannies for their four children. His family founded the Indiana-based Simon Property Group. According to Forbes, his net worth is $1.4 billion.

"It's hard to infer an anti-family, anti-pregnancy animus from Mrs. Simon when her whole history has been pro-child," said the judge. She noted that Bui Simon runs a foundation for orphans and she adopted the daughter of a sister who died and raised her as her own child even before she married Simon.

"She's not someone who had children and abandoned them to nannies," said the judge. "She drove them to school, fed them, put them to bed."

She also noted that Bui Simon had been extremely generous to Leite, who worked for the Simons for eight years. She said the Simons gave Leite $20,000 to help her mother buy a house in Brazil, gave her a used Mercedes for her personal use and an $11,000 pair of diamond earrings for a birthday.

"It's hard for me to reconcile that with some secret spiteful animus," said the judge who ridiculed the idea that Mrs. Simon was secretly "the Wicked Witch of the West or Cruella DeVille."

Attorney Joseph Davis, representing Leite and chauffeur Robert Young, said in his hours-long argument that Bui Simon tried to humiliate Leite by giving her some of her used pregnancy clothes which were too small for her. The judge said the motive wasn't believable. She also rejected a complaint by Leite that during a trip to Indianapolis, Bui Simon refused to let her go to an emergency room when she experienced discomfort with her pregnancy.

Instead, Leite acknowledged her employer called a friend who was an eminent neo natal doctor and sought his opinion on the phone.

"To me what she did was reasonable and kind," said the judge. She also noted that other employees in the Simon household testified that they were given generous maternity leaves when they became pregnant. Instead of avoiding pregnant employees, she said Bui Simon "continued to hire employees who had more and more children."

Leite was dismissed because of a screaming argument she had with another member of the household staff, the judge said, noting the incident caused the children to cry.

"This is not IBM and computer scientists in a cubicle," Hogue said. "This is a family."

She said Bui Simon had to act to insure calm in the household. She suspended both women for a time, she said, but Leite was fired after a phone conversation in which she told her employer: "It's your fault. You made the children cry." The judge called it "a belligerent response."

She said, "It is undisputed that the Simons were generally delighted with her care of the children," but by the end of the relationship, they no longer liked Leite.

The Simons sat through every day of the three-week trial and gave testimony. Their lawyer, Patricia Glaser, said they refused to consider a settlement with the employees.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

ADVERTISEMENT