A judge Friday set a trial in May for one of the pending lawsuits against a hologram producer who has been sued by several former employees, but said that date is contingent on the plaintiff’s attorney’s recovery from a recent illness.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Monica Bachner scheduled trial of plaintiff Grant Zimmerman’s lawsuit against Alki David and his companies for May 18 and said she will hear final pretrial motions on April 13.
Moments before, Bachner met in chambers with attorney Rosalind Vasquez, who appeared in court on behalf of Zimmerman’s lead attorney, Sarah Hernandez. When the two returned to open court, the judge said Vasquez told her Hernandez had a “health issue,” but Bachner did not elaborate.
Bachner said the May 18 trial date could be rescheduled, depending on Hernandez’s health at the time.
David’s lawyer, Amir Kaltgrad, was in contact with the court by telephone during the hearing. He said he did not object to the judge meeting in chambers with Vasquez out of his presence so long as the issue they discussed was unrelated to the case.
Vasquez had asked for the in-chambers meeting, saying something had happened overnight that prevented Hernandez from being in court Friday. Vasquez did not mention Hernandez’s health, but told the judge she did not want to discuss the issue before spectators in court.
Outside of the courtroom, Vasquez said she could not comment on whether Hernandez has the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Kaltgrad confirmed that David had appeared for and completed his scheduled deposition with Zimmerman’s attorneys, who had complained that he was dodging their efforts for months.
Zimmerman began working as an independent contractor for David’s companies in 2014 and then directly for David the next year, when he obtained a deal for rapper Chief Keef to be the subject of a new hologram, the suit filed in September 2017 states.
Zimmerman alleges he was not paid for his work on the Chief Keef project and is also owed other back wages. He also alleges David’s workplace was rife with sexual harassment and that the producer showed the staff pornography.
Zimmerman maintains he was wrongfully fired in September 2016 for complaining about being owed money and because David believed he was associated with a female employee who considered herself a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.
A spokesman for David said his client denies Zimmerman’s allegations as well as any wrongdoing alleged by any of the plaintiffs in related cases.
Former David employee Mahim Khan won $58.25 million late last year in the most recent case against the businessman. The Khan verdict came just over a month after 36-year-old Lauren Reeves, who had two stints as an independent contractor for David’s companies, won more than $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages against him in another sexual harassment case.
In April, Chasity Jones, another former David employee, was awarded $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages against David. The 42-year-old plaintiff later agreed to a reduction of about $445,000 after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rafael Ongkeko found the amount of out-of-pocket damages awarded her was excessive.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: