A Brooklyn judge has tossed out a $260 million lawsuit alleging that American Apparel CEO Dov Charney kept a young employee as a "sex slave," saying 21-year-old Irene Morales had already agreed to arbitration.
Supreme Court Judge Bernadette Bayne delivered her Feb. 10 ruling to attorneys Wednesday, according to DNAInfo.com. Bayne did not address the merits of the claim that the 43-year-old Charney conscripted Morales, a former manager at a local American Apparel branch, into serving as his sex slave for eight months once she turned 18. Morales' claims had been undermined by alleged evidence of suggestive emails she sent to Charney that were leaked to various blogs.
"From the outset, we argued this case should go to arbitration and be dismissed and we're happy it went in that direction," said Stuart Slotnick, a lawyer for American Apparel. "We expect this case to be dismissed in arbitration," he added.
A woman answering the phone at Simon Eisenberg & Baum LLC, the firm of Morales's attorney, Eric Baum, said Baum was on vacation until Monday. But Baum told the Daily News earlier of plans to appeal the ruling.
American Apparel lawyers contended that the suit, filed last year, was an attempt to extort money from the beleaguered company.
This is the second piece of good news this month for Charney, who recently received word that billionaire George Soros is prepared to extend as much as $80 million credit line to his debt-laden clothing chain. At least four cases of sexual harassment filed against Charney by other women last year have yet to be decided.