NEW YORK (May 19, 2006) — Lawyers for television talk-show host Maury Povich have asked a court to dismiss a $100 million sex harassment lawsuit against him and members of his staff and to compel the producer who filed it to arbitrate the dispute.
Bianca Nardi, 28, of Fort Lee, N.J., complained in a lawsuit filed last month that some of her supervisors at “The Maury Povich Show” barraged her with sexual remarks and made her watch pornographic movies, wear revealing clothing and expose her body.
Her court papers say she had an unfairly heavy workload because she did tasks that were supposed to be done by another producer, who had an intimate relationship with Povich and often refused to do her own work — without penalty.
Povich, whose show is produced by NBC Universal, is married to veteran television news anchor Connie Chung.
Elisabeth C. Yap, an NBC Universal lawyer, said in an affidavit dated Monday that Nardi’s lawyer, Bruce Baron, was told in an April 14 letter that the producer’s contract required her to arbitrate any claims arising out of any alleged discrimination or harassment.
Joe Schlosser, a spokesman for NBC Universal, said Thursday: “In response to the plaintiff’s (Nardi’s) complaint, we have filed a motion to dismiss the case and have asked the court to instead compel the plaintiff to arbitrate her claims as required by her contract.”
Baron, Nardi’s lawyer, said Thursday he found it “ironic and suspect” that anyone who is innocent of accusations of illegal conduct “would not embrace the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law as opposed to bobbing and weaving and looking to silence this in some back room.”
“My client looks forward to exercising her constitutional right to obtain justice in a court of law,” Baron said.
The lawsuit names Povich, NBC Universal Television Inc. and Povich’s production company, Mopo, among others, as defendants.