NBA star Dwight Howard can breathe a sigh of relief as he has settled a legal battle with his ex-butler, Louis Pellegrino. They have reportedly reached a confidential settlement agreement, resolving the lawsuit that revolved around allegations of unpaid wages, a missing engagement ring, and defamation.
Howard, who has an estimated net worth of $140 million, was hit with a lawsuit last year from Pellegrino, who claimed Howard accused him of stealing a $250,000 engagement ring. But now all seems to be resolved between the two.
Opting to Settle
According to court documents obtained by RadarOnline, Pellegrino notified the court of the settlement and that he will be dismissing all claims against Howard.
“Plaintiff and Defendants, by and through their undersigned counsel, and hereby notify the Court that the Parties have reached a settlement. The Parties expect to finalize and execute the formal Settlement Agreement within fifteen (15) days from the date of this Joint Notice of Settlement. Once settlement has been completed, Plaintiff will file a voluntary dismissal with prejudice of this action,” the court filing stated.
Inside the Original Lawsuit
Pellegrino had initially filed a lawsuit against Howard and his company, 12-Bray LLC, alleging unpaid wages, defamation regarding accusations over a missing engagement rings, and breach of contract. He claimed that he was referred to Howard for employment by his mother, who worked as a nanny for the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Under Howard’s employ, Pellegrino claimed he performed various duties, providing “butler/concierge, security, shopping, car/property maintenance, shipping, pet care, and pool duties, as well as other personal duties and assignments from Howard and Estate guests.”
Court papers stated, “Howard routinely praised Pellegrino for excellent professional performance and being a ‘jack-of-all-trade’ — referring to the multitude of butler/concierge services Pellegrino provided at the Estate.”
Pellegrino also claimed that he was forced to stay at Howard’s estate around the clock, every day of the week, except when he needed to fulfill other responsibilities for 12-Bray and Howard, such as shopping, car maintenance, and shipping items for Howard. As a result, Pellegrino’s work schedule amounted to approximately 20 hours per day and 140 hours per week, OK Player reported.
Pellegrino said he never received the agreed-upon salary. He was paid $750 weekly but was promised an increase to $80,000 annually, the lawsuit alleged.
“Often, Howard responded that Pellegrino would be paid as promised once Howard changed banks and accountants. However, Howard and 12-Bray never compensated Pellegrino at the agreed-upon annual salary and/or FLSA-mandated rates,” the suit claimed.
And after his connection with Howard’s ex-girlfriend, Melissa Rios, was revealed, he said the workplace became a “hostile environment.”
On top of this, Pellegrino said Howard defamed his character when he accused him of stealing an engagement ring worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. No word if the ring was ever found.