Curtis Stone is pictured with his wife, Lindsay Price
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone will not stand trial for allegedly abusing his former nanny to the point that she ‘feared for her safety’ after a breakthrough mediation.
Earlier this year Daily Mail Australia revealed that Stone had pledged to fight the explosive allegations in court, as former nanny Melissa Talley stood firm against her accusations that she had been treated ‘maliciously’ and “harassed” during her employment.
But an August 8 order from Judge Kristin Escalante reveals that the trial – which was due to take place on July 29 next year in Los Angeles Superior Court – was dropped after both sides agreed to resort to arbitration.
It will likely be a welcome relief for Stone that none of Ms Talley’s allegations will be made public anymore and that the arbitration will remain confidential, as will the outcome.
The Australian cook, 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. dollars located in the upscale suburb of Brentwood, Los Angeles.
Curtis Stone and Lindsay Price (pictured with their children) hired nanny Melissa Talley in 2019 to look after their sons
After months of legal wrangling, which threatened to culminate in a jury trial, Stone and Ms Talley agreed to arbitration with a post-mediation status conference set for May 3 next year.
Ms Talley did not live with the family, but had to cook for the boys, read to them, drive them to lessons and activities, wash them and do light household chores – for an annual salary of US$65,000 ($94,000). AU dollars) – every weekday for nine hours.
But Ms Talley claimed in a lawsuit that she regularly worked more than the nine-hour day stipulated by California law.
She also alleged that she had not been paid for her overtime, according to court documents filed in Los Angeles state court in September last year.
Ms Talley further alleged that she was “harassed” and fired when she approached Stone to raise her concerns.
She sued Stone for wrongful termination and sought over US$25,000 in damages.
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 his claims were without merit.
In June, Judge Escalante signed an order that neither party wanted to continue negotiations for a settlement or mediation.
Ms. Talley and Stone have requested a jury trial.
But there was a dramatic turnaround just weeks ago, with both sides apparently changing their minds and agreeing to arbitration with a post-mediation status conference set for 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 in court in September last year, that Stone had tried to hand her a check for US$1,000 (A$1,400) during the same meeting, but that she had not signed the document or accepted the money.
Ms Talley claimed she was then ‘summoned’ to Stone’s office a few days later to meet him and another person, during which time her job was terminated and she was asked to sign another document.
She claimed he did not explain what the document was for or why she had to sign it.
“Feeling pressured and overwhelmed, Ms. Talley left the office and sat in the hallway to collect herself and review the document without Stone present,” the court documents state.
“However, Stone immediately followed Ms Talley and continued to pressure her to sign the document while hovering over her.
“Fearing for her own safety, Ms. Talley ultimately signed the document without reading it in order to end Stone’s harassment.”
The former nanny claimed she continually suffered “humiliation, emotional distress, as well as mental and physical pain and anguish”.
She alleged that “Stone’s misconduct was intentional, malicious, oppressive and fraudulent.”
Ms Talley had sought compensation for the overtime she had worked, with interest, as well as damages including lost wages and earnings, and asked Stone to cover her legal costs.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Kim Legal APC, who represents Ms Talley, to comment on the latest developments.
In Stone’s original response, his legal team denied every claim Talley made and said his “actions were justified business decisions with legitimate motivations, goals and business reasons, and were taken in good faith.” “.
Representatives of Stone have also been contacted about the development of mediation.
Stone – a household name in Australia and the United States – has an estimated worth of around $36 million. Besides the Brentwood property, he also owns a $9 million ranch in Malibu.
He operates three high-end restaurants in Los Angeles called Maude, Gwen and Georgie, and is an ambassador for Australian supermarket Coles.