Trump Loses Arbitration Case & Is Ordered To Pay Large Sum To Plaintiff


Donald Trump has lost in court again — for a guy who seems so eternally sure of himself, he certainly does appear to consistently fall rhetorically flat on his face. The Trump campaign has been ordered to pay over $350,000 in various fees after trying to enforce a non-disclosure agreement that an arbitrator handling a dispute with a former staffer derided as “vague and unenforceable.” That arbitrator, retired federal judge Victor Bianchini, pointed to confidentiality and non-disparagement sections of the document in particular, apparently agreeing with earlier findings that the confidentiality language could “conceivably cover any information related to the campaign” and that the portion demanding non-disparagement could potentially shield hundreds of companies related to the Trump family and was inappropriately expansive.

The former Trump campaign staffer whose dispute with the ex-president’s team culminated in these findings is Alva Johnson, who previously filed an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit accusing Trump of battery in connection to an incident when he forcibly kissed her and alleging that she suffered pay discrimination due to her race (she is Black) and gender. After Johnson’s lawsuit failed, the Trump team brought a claim against her alleging that she’d violated one of the infamous non-disclosure agreements that seem to consistently follow the former president and subject his associates and staffers to sharp limits on what they can publicly say. But the matter has now turned out in Johnson’s favor; the money that the Trump campaign has been ordered to fork over covers legal fees that she has incurred amid this ordeal, in addition to the cost of the arbitration that the campaign sought. The portion of the Trump campaign’s required payments covering Johnson’s legal fees is $303,285, with an additional $2,950 covering charges from the American Arbitration Association and $43,948 for Bianchini.

Johnson’s lawyer Hassan Zavareei hailed the development, commenting:

‘The Trump campaign has tried to use its unenforceable NDA to unlawfully silence its critics. We are pleased that the arbitrator has held that these efforts cannot stand and ordered the campaign to compensate our client for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees that the campaign forced her to incur.’

As Buzzfeed News explains it, “While the campaign’s arbitration case against Johnson was pending, two other former Trump campaign staffers — Jessica Denson and Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who also served in the White House for a period of time — won challenges to NDAs that they’d signed that were identical to the one at issue in Johnson’s case.” Bianchini originally dismissed the Trump campaign’s prior claims against Johnson late last year, after which point her side filed the request for the Trump campaign to cover legal fees incurred in the ex-staffer’s defense. Read more at this link.