Thursday, March 26, 2009

Maid Sues Vanessa and Kobe Bryant For Abuse and Forcing Her to Touch Dog Feces

A former housekeeper of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant is suing the couple, alleging the Laker star’s wife “badgered, harassed and humiliated’’ her, including making her touch dog feces as punishment for potentially ruining a blouse, according to the the wrongful termination lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.

Maria Jimenez, a Peruvian immigrant who is a U.S. citizen, says she worked as a full-time housekeeper at the Bryant’s Newport Coast home from September 2007 to March 22, 2008, and was making $50,000 a year.

Jimenez did not reside at the family’s home, but worked there six days a week, the claim says.

The lawsuit alleges Vanessa Bryant engaged in a pattern of verbal abuse against Jimenez – who she said called her “a (expletive) liar,’’ “dumb," and “lazy."

The Laker star’s wife also left dog feces on the floor for Jimenez to clean up. One time, Vanessa Bryant screamed at Jimenez for putting a $690 blouse in the washing machine. Vanessa Bryant then demanded that Jimenez put her hand in a bag of dog feces to retrieve the price tag for the blouse.

“Vanessa’s ordering her to put her hand in dog feces was outrageous... as a violation of health and safety laws,’’ according to the lawsuit.

“Kobe is the good guy here. This is mostly about Vanessa," Jimenez’ lawyer, William Vogeler said.

“She is a housekeeper by profession and a great, motherly woman,’’ he said. She was referred to the Bryants through an agency, and has three of her own children.

The Bryants’ lawyer, Mark D. Campbell, issued a statement denying Jimenez’s account.
“Ms. Jimenez's outrageous allegations of improper conduct are totally unfounded and patently false,’’ Campbell said. “The Bryants intend to vigorously defend against these untruthful allegations and are confident that the baseless nature of the allegations will be proven.”

Jimenez also alleges Vanessa Bryant screamed at her after one of the Bryants’ children came to Jimenez for comfort, the lawsuit says. Vanessa Bryant yelled: “I don’t want you to touch my baby. I hired you for housekeeping, not babysitting,” according to the claim.

The lawsuit says Jimenez was “constructively discharged from her job” because of such incidents.

Besides seeking money for wrongful termination, Jimenez also is asking for damages for emotional distress, unpaid wages, and invasion of privacy and breach of contract. She also alleges the Bryants never provided her with health insurance, and should pay for her $130,000 in hospital bills for an ovarian cyst, Vogeler said.

The suit does not specify the amount that Jimenez is seeking in damages, but Jimenez said in the suit that she sustained damages of more than $20,000 in unpaid overtime.

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