Jessica Biel and her business partners have accused their former restaurant employees of trying to extort money from them in their $1.5million lawsuit, according to new court filings.
Last year, Biel and her business partners at the kid-friendly West Hollywood restaurant Au Fudge were sued by nine former employees accusing them of collecting gratuities from private events without distributing it to their workers.
The actress and her fellow business partners have responded to the lawsuit, denying all wrongdoing, according to legal documents obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com.
The nine restaurant employees are represented by Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer, Keith Davidson, who appeared to be unresponsive to Biel’s lawyers just as the porn star started to speak out about her alleged one-night stand with President Donald Trump.
Jessica Biel and her business partners at the LA restaurant Au Fudge were sued by nine former employees accusing them of not distributing gratuities collected at private events. Biel and her business partners now accuse their former employees of trying to extort money from them
Five of the nine employees at Jessica Biel’s kid-friendly LA restaurant Au Fudge who are suing the star and her business partners for $1.5 million
The former employees claim that the majority of their income came from working at special events that cost companies including Netflix and Amazon up to $90,000 for an occasion – but they never received gratuities.
‘There would be multiple events per week and you would be working tirelessly and we would walk away with pennies,’ Defendant Connor Gleason said. ‘We felt really cheated out of our hard-earned money.’
Another former staffer, Kirstyn Toney, said that ‘these companies, they thought they were tipping the staff, and they were really just tipping Jessica Biel’.
But lawyers for Biel call the lawsuit nothing more than ‘an effort to extort money from the Defendants via unsupported and farfetched claims that lack any credibility’.
The suit claimed that the bulk of the restaurant’s money came from ‘buyouts’, or private events in which they routinely charged clients 22 per cent gratuity – but the employees claim they never saw their tips.
They sued Biel and her business partners claiming they lost out on $430,100 in gratuities from the private events and an additional $31,549 in missed rest breaks which they said they were denied.
The suit also sought $1 million in punitive damage.
The nine restaurant employees are represented by Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer, Keith Davidson, who appeared to be unresponsive to Biel’s lawyers just as the porn star started to speak out about her alleged one-night stand with President Donald Trump
In mid-January, Daniels first spoke out about her alleged one-night stand with Trump and the NDA she had to sign ahead of the 2016 presidential election. She’s pictured above speaking on 60 Minutes on Sunday
In legal documents filed on February 27, Biel’s legal team claims the lawsuit attempts to hold her personally liable for the funds with no factual support.
The actress calls the claims ‘frivolous’ and demands the judge dismiss the case.
Legal filings claim that the gratuities that the employees claim they’re owed were not actually gratuities, but mandatory service charges that are not owed to the employees.
Biel and her business partners say they have never had conversations with the employees over the accusations they’ve made.
Further, legal documents claim that there is no proof that the employees worked the events mentioned in their lawsuit, provided services that would entitle them to tips or even had an agreement with Au Fudge that they were entitled to tips.
The filing claims that if the court allows the employees to continue to pursue their case, it could enable them to recover gratuities that are owed to others who worked for the restaurant.
In regard to the claim that employees weren’t provided meal breaks, Biel and her business partners say there is no allegation that any of them felt obligated to work through their break.
Biel and her business partners have asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.
In the weeks before the latest documents were filed, a lawyer representing Biel tried to meet with Keith Davidson, the lawyer who is representing the former employees and the former lawyer of Stormy Daniels
Davidson was apparently unresponsive through email when a lawyer representing Biel tried to have a phone call at the end of January and in early February
It took Knoles more than two weeks to pin down Davidson and discuss the complaint. Shortly thereafter, the complaint was filed
In the weeks before the latest documents were filed, a lawyer representing Biel tried to meet with Keith Davidson, the lawyer who is representing the former employees and the former lawyer of Stormy Daniels.
Just days before the 2016 election, Davidson negotiated a nondisclosure agreement for Daniels with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen in return for $130,000.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is now suing Trump to have her NDA torn up because the now-president never signed it. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, claims he paid Daniels himself.
In the Au Fudge case, Davidson was apparently unresponsive through email when a lawyer representing Biel tried to have a phone call at the end of January and in early February.
The lawyer, Emily Knoles, attempted to contact Davidson on several occasions via email to discuss the lawsuit and their demurrer, or objection to the lawsuit.
It took Knoles more than two weeks to pin down Davidson and discuss the complaint. Shortly thereafter, the demurrer was filed.
The correspondence came around the time Daniels started speaking out about the alleged affair and NDA.
The White House on Monday said Trump ‘has strongly, clearly and has consistently denied’ allegations of sexual liaison with Daniels
Daniels first claimed she had an affair with Trump on January 12.
Knoles’ first email to Davidson was on January 17. Davidson first responded on January 26, but the two didn’t speak about the case until February 5 – right in the midst of the Daniels scandal.
The White House on Monday said Trump ‘has strongly, clearly and has consistently denied’ allegations of sexual liaison.
In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ show, Daniels said she had been threatened by a man in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 who warned her to ‘leave Trump alone.’
Davidson no longer represents Daniels, who is now represented by Michael Avenatti, who took the porn star on as a client earlier this year.
Davidson’s attorney provided the following statement to DailyMail.com: ‘These nine hard-working members of the Au Fudge waitstaff had their hard-earned tips stolen from the owners of the establishment.
‘This is nothing more than a case where workers were not paid for their work. To portray the situation as though the employees are seeking anything more than what they are owed is reckless, unfair and defamatory.
‘I stand by these employees and their valid claim and look forward to them receiving justice in this case.’