Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis won a round in court Wednesday when a judge granted the former couple’s motion to compel arbitration of a lawsuit filed by a former nanny who alleges Sudeikis wrongfully terminated her in 2022.
Plaintiff Ericka Genaro alleges in her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that after Wilde, 39, moved out of the home she shared with Sudeikis, 47, and the actor’s son and daughter, her anxiety increased because it dramatically increased her caretaker role in the children’s lives.
On Wednesday, Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis said Genaro’s claims should be decided by an arbitrator rather than a jury. Genaro’s attorney, Ronald Zambrano, said in a statement after the hearing that the ruling was not a defeat for his client.
“We don’t agree with the decision, but it is what it is and now we’ll litigate it in arbitration and the case goes on,” Zambrano said. “This does not terminate the lawsuit. It merely changes the venue.”
Meanwhile, representatives for Wilde and Sudeikis issued a joint statement, saying, “The lawsuit has been fully dismissed. Both Olivia and Jason are hopeful they can finally close this chapter after what has not only been a selfish grab for financial gain, but a shameless exploitation of their trust played out in the media.”
Zambrano says text messages and deposition testimony show that Genaro was driven to quit, then fired anyway.
“We feel extremely confident in the case so instead of taking this to trial, we’ll handle it in arbitration and we’re ready to move forward,” Zambrano said.
In their motion to compel arbitration, the actors’ attorneys stated that Genaro contractually agreed that any disputes related to her employment would be resolved in binding arbitration. The defense lawyers also maintained that Genaro promised to keep confidential what she learned about the family, but she instead sued in “utter disregard” of her obligation to arbitrate disputes and of her confidentiality obligations.
Genaro alleges discrimination, retaliation and failure to accommodate and engage in the interactive process. Genaro maintains in a sworn declaration that she would not have been hired if she refused to sign the papers and that she is not a lawyer and has no legal training.
“Furthermore, when I signed these documents, I had almost zero experience reviewing contracts,” Genaro says.
But in a previously filed sworn declaration supplemented by an additional one brought Aug. 9, Wilde says the plaintiff was indeed bound by the arbitration clause and that Genaro resigned after the actors refused to bow to the nanny’s salary demands. Both deny they were unfair to Genaro.
“At no time did I ever receive or deny any request from Genaro to change any part of the agreement, including but not limited to the arbitration provision, before she signed it,” Wilde said in her new declaration. “To my knowledge, neither did Jason Sudeikis.”
In his declaration, Sudeikis said he and Wilde hired Genaro in November 2018 to be the nanny for their two children in Brooklyn.
“I never received or denied any request from Genaro to negotiate any part of the agreement, including but not limited to the arbitration provision,” Sudeikis said “I never told Genaro that she needed to review the agreement, sign the agreement or return the agreement within any particular period of time.”
Genaro believes she lost her job because she suffered from anxiety and depression and sought a brief leave to deal with both, her suit filed Feb. 14 states.
Wilde and Sudeikis never married and split up in November 2020.