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Former Warriors Employee Settles Ellis Sexual Harassment Claim; Suit Dismissed

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The former director of community relations for the Golden State Warriors has settled a lawsuit alleging that the basketball team’s former star player, Monta Ellis, sexually harassed her, the woman’s attorney said late this week.

Burton Boltuch, the attorney for Erica Smith, said he could not divulge the details of the settlement.

Boltuch said, “The matter was dismissed and you can infer from that what you want.”

In a statement, the Warriors said, “The claims of Miss Smith were dismissed in their entirety.”

In her suit, which was filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Dec. 21, Smith said she was fired by the Warriors Aug. 5, 2011, after she refused a financial settlement the team offered to her.

Smith, who is single and is in her 30s, said Ellis began texting her in November 2010 but she told him she wasn’t interested in having a relationship with him because he is married.

The suit said Ellis’s texts, which sometimes started with the phrase “Hey Sexy,” weren’t work-related and were sent at odd hours.

It alleged that one of Ellis’s texts included a graphic photo of his penis.

The suit claimed that the Warriors tried to cover up the alleged misconduct by Ellis and retaliated against her by firing her.

Boltuch said in December that Smith started working for the Warriors in September 2007 and received positive work reviews, but after she rejected a request by the team in February 2011 that she resign and take “a little money,” the team began removing some of her job duties.

The suit named the team, Ellis, co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber and then-general manager Larry Riley as defendants. Ellis was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in March and Riley was recently demoted to a position as the team’s scouting director.

Smith’s suit sought unspecified damages for recovery of lost income, including back wages and benefits, compensation for severe emotional distress and injunctive relief to order the Warriors to remedy what the suit alleged was illegal conduct.

When the suit was filed, the Warriors said in a statement, “When we were made aware of a consensual relationship between Mr. Ellis and the plaintiff, we did what an organization should do. We told both to stop – promptly, directly and fairly. The Warriors have never taken any action against the plaintiff for any inappropriate reason, and we deny the allegations she is making.”

The team said, “We live in a litigious society in which lawsuits too frequently are driven by money and not the pursuit of justice.”


(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Milwaukee Bucks settles Sexual Harassment Claim « Attorney Jeffrey Brown

    […] In Milwaukee, the Golden State Warriors settled a lawsuit after allegations that the basketball team’s former star player, Monta Ellis, sexually harassed a woman. The woman claimed that she was fired by the Warriors on August 5, 2011, after refusing a financial settlement which the team offered her to cover up Ellis misconduct and advances which she said began by texts in November 2010. The woman also claimed employer retaliation after she was fired. Some of the damages the lawsuit sought was unspecified damages for recovery of lost income, such as back wages and benefits, as well as compensation for severe emotional distress. See […]

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