Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carol Goodson, a judge who regularly hears restraining order matters in Los Angeles, denied a restraining order requested by fired tech executive and Hyperloop CEO Brogan BamBrogan.
Despite the fact that Bambrogan alleged a noose was placed on his chair by the respondent, the court denied the hearing after approximately one minute of discussion.
"Dave Willingham, a partner at downtown’s Caldwell Leslie & Proctor, spent one sentence convincing Godson to reject the petition. 'This is a baseless accusation that was designed to bolster another lawsuit,' Willingham said. 'I agree,' [Judge] Godson responded. 'Request denied.'
After the hearing, Willingham declined to comment.
BamBrogan’s attorney, Justin Berger of Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy, said he respected the judge’s decision but emphasized the ruling would not impact the larger civil suit filed Tuesday against Hyperloop One.
That lawsuit alleges BamBrogan and several other executives were forced out after voicing reservations about how Shervin and Chief Executive Joseph Lonsdale were running the company."
Source: Los Angeles Business Journal
In Los Angeles and throughout California, judges often are reluctant to grant restraining orders that are extensions of standard business disputes. Sometimes, in order to gain an advantage in a business lawsuit, principals and officers of companies can allege conduct that would lead to a restraining order. Further, other officers can be the victims of restraining order abuse by other individuals and competitors, and can find themselves in the positions of respondents. Judges are much more likely to grant a restraining order in the context of personal disputes where an unfair business advantage is not a risk when granting a restraining order request.
The comments by Hyperloop's counsel after the restraining order hearing emphasized the nature of the request and further implied that it was a business dispute that led to the inappropriate restraining order request.
“'Today’s lawsuit brought by former employees of Hyperloop One is unfortunate and delusional,'” Snyder’s statement reads. “'These employees tried to stage a coup and failed… The claims are pure nonsense and will be met with a swift and potent legal response.'”
In order for a workplace violence restraining order to be granted, an employee cannot request the order himself or herself. A workplace violence restraining order can only be properly requested by an employer on behalf of an employee. An employee or officer of a company who wants to request a restraining order on his or her behalf must request a civil harassment restraining order, often called the "catchall" restraining order.
A civil harassment restraining order request, in order to be granted, must contain a credible threat of violence, commonly defined as “knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her immediate family, and that serves no legitimate purpose.” This court of conduct, in order to lead to a restraining order, must alarm, annoy or harass a person and serve no legitimate purpose. There must also be a pattern of conduct over a period of time, but that period of time can be short and there is no bright line amount of time that harassment must take place for in order for a civil harassment restraining order to be granted. The conduct alleged can be telephonic, electronic, in person, or in any number of other ways and mediums.