Curtis Stone won’t stand trial for allegedly mistreating nanny in LA as shock U-turn sees celebrity chef and his former staffer agree to arbitration
Curtis Stone is pictured with his wife Lindsay Price
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone will not face trial for allegedly assaulting his former nanny to the point that she “feared for her safety” following a mediation breakthrough.
Earlier this year, Daily Mail Australia revealed that Stone had promised to fight the explosive allegations in court, while former nanny Melissa Talley remained steadfast with her allegations that she had been treated “maliciously” and “harassed” during her employment.
But an order issued Aug. 8 by Judge Kristin Escalante shows that the trial — which was scheduled to be heard in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 29 next year — was dropped after both sides agreed to arbitration.
It will probably come as a welcome relief to Stone that Ms Talley’s allegations will no longer be made public and that the arbitration will remain confidential, as will the outcome.
The Australian chef, 47, and his wife Lindsay Price, 46, hired Melissa Talley in 2019 to care for their children Hudson, 11, and Emerson, eight, at their sprawling $11.5 million mansion in the posh suburb of Brentwood , Los Angeles.
Curtis Stone and Lindsay Price (pictured with their kids) hired nanny Melissa Talley to care for their sons in 2019
After months of legal wrangling that threatened to culminate in a jury trial, both Stone and Ms. Talley have agreed to arbitration, with a post-conciliation status conference on May 3 next year.
Mrs Talley did not live with the family, but had to cook for the boys, read to them, take them to classes and activities, wash them and do small household chores – for an annual salary of US$65,000 (AU$94,000) – for nine hours every weekday.
But Ms. Talley claimed in a lawsuit that she regularly worked more than the nine hours per day set by California law.
She also claimed she was not paid overtime, according to court documents filed in LA State Court last September.
Ms Talley further claimed she was ‘harassed’ and fired when she approached Stone with her concerns.
She sued Stone for wrongful termination and sought damages of more than $25,000.
Court documents filed by Stone’s lawyers in November said he denied “every allegation” made by Ms Talley.
His legal team filed 15 defenses in an attempt to prove her allegations baseless.
In June, Judge Escalante signed an order that neither side wanted to negotiate any further settlement or mediation.
Both Ms. Talley and Stone demanded a jury trial.
But a dramatic turnaround occurred just weeks ago, with both sides seemingly changing their minds and agreeing to arbitration, with a post-mediation status conference on May 3 next year.
Curtis Stone is an ambassador for Australian supermarket Coles. He lives and works in California
The former nanny had alleged in an amended complaint filed with the court last September that Stone tried to hand her a check for $1,000 (AU$1,400) at the same meeting, but she did not sign the document and it money not accepted.
Ms Talley claimed she was ‘summoned’ to Stone’s office a few days later to meet with him and another person, during which time her employment was reportedly terminated and she was told to sign another document.
She claimed he had not explained what the document was for, or why she had to sign it.
“Mrs. Talley, feeling pressured and overwhelmed, left the office and sat down in the hallway to line herself up and review the document away from Stone,” court documents said.
However, Stone immediately followed Mrs. Talley and continued to pressure her to sign the document as he hovered over her.
“Fearing for her own safety, Ms. Talley eventually signed the document without reading it to stop Stone’s harassment.”
The former nanny claimed she suffered constant “humiliation, emotional distress, and mental and physical pain and anguish.”
She claimed that Stone’s misconduct was “committed intentionally, in a malicious, oppressive and fraudulent manner.”
Mrs. Talley had asked for compensation for the overtime she had worked, with interest, plus damages, including lost wages and earnings, and had required Stone to cover her legal costs.
Daily Mail Australia approached Kim Legal APC, representing Ms Talley, for comment on the latest developments.
In Stone’s original response, his legal team denied any of Talley’s claims, saying his “actions were business decisions justified by legitimate business motives, purposes and reasons, and made in good faith.”
Stone representatives were also contacted about the development of the mediation.
Stone – a household name in both Australia and the US – has an estimated net worth of around $36 million. In addition to the Brentwood estate, he also owns a $9 million ranch in Malibu.
He operates three upscale restaurants in LA named Maude, Gwen and Georgie, and is the ambassador for Australian budget supermarket Coles.