Arguments Heard on Motion to Force Model's Suit Before Arbitrator

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A judge heard arguments today on Guess Inc.'s motion to force arbitration of a model's lawsuit alleging company founder Paul Marciano sexually harassed her in the workplace, but he did not immediately rule.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven J. Kleifield said the hearing involving Guess' motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff Jane Doe's case will resume Thursday.

The model alleges in her lawsuit filed Jan. 19 against Guess and Marciano that she was sexually assaulted by the 69-year-old fashion designer numerous times. The suit cites one such instance when he allegedly grabbed her breasts after a 2017 photo shoot.

In their court papers, lawyers for Guess and Marciano maintain all of Doe's agreements with the company since February 2019 had a clear provision requiring that disputes be resolved in arbitration rather than in the courts.

“There can be no claim the arbitration provision was hidden or secret since the documents are just 1/2 pages each with seven other terms,'' the defense lawyers argue in their court papers.

Lisa Bloom, on behalf of Doe, argued in her court papers that Marciano was not a party to any arbitration agreement with her client.

“Accordingly, even if a valid and enforceable arbitration clause existed between plaintiff and Guess, plaintiff's claims against Marciano in his individual capacity cannot be compelled into arbitration,'' according to Bloom's court papers.

Marciano often told Doe about Guess jobs he had coming up, offering career opportunities to keep her quiet, the suit states.

After she made a written sexual harassment complaint last September, Guess ceased allowing her to work there, according to the suit.

Photo: Getty Images

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