With about as much ceremony as a breakup after one date, a civil case alleging that a Chipotle restaurant regional manager mistreated a black employee was thrown out of court because the plaintiff once again didn’t show up and has otherwise fled from the controversy that surrounds her case.
Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera shrugged as he approved Chipotle’s request to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning the restaurant chain can come back against Janeka Samuels, the woman who filed a lawsuit against Ben DeBilzan and the company last year.
DeBilzan, appearing in person, and Chipotle attorney Charles Cavanagh stood patiently as LaBarbera rendered an easy verdict, because Samuels has repeatedly failed to appear in court or respond to Cavanagh’s emailed and mailed messages.
Cavanagh asked that LaBarbera keep the case open and said that Samuels had damaged his client’s reputation by making false allegations in court and taking those allegations to the local media.
“So we’ll discuss it and see—if anything—what [Samuels] does,” LaBarbera said shortly before dismissing her case.
In the time since she filed the case, Samuels has parted ways with her original attorney and was still representing herself as of press time. She previously declined New Times’ repeated requests for follow-up interviews, saying via text message that she no longer wishes to comment. She didn’t respond to a recent written request for comment.
In Los Angeles County, Samuels is also in the midst of a class action case against Chipotle. According to a LA Superior Court docket, her attorney filed a continuance on that case March 12. The case is scheduled for a May 21 status conference. Attorney Mike Arias has continued to not respond to New Times’ requests for comment.