A former Taco Bell executive who was fired last year after he allegedly attacked an Uber driver is now suing that driver for $5 million, claiming the video was recorded without his consent, according to court documents seen by The Orange County Register.
In October 2015, driver Edward Caban picked up passenger Benjamin Golden. Golden, who worked as head of mobile commerce and innovation at fast food chain Taco Bell, according to an online bio, was shown on camera apparently attacking the driver after he ended the journey early. Caban is then shown pepper-spraying Golden, which ends the confrontation.
Golden, 32, was fired by Taco Bell after Caban posted footage of the attack online (see the video below).
“Given the behaviour of the individual, it is clear he can no longer work for us,” the company said in a statement to Business Insider when the video was first posted last November. “We have also offered and encouraged him to seek professional help.”
Subsequently, Golden made a tearful apology in an interview with CBS. “It’s not me, and it was hard to watch and I’m ashamed,” he said.
Caban was apparently sceptical of Golden’s apology. In a statement posted by mynewsLA.com, Caban said: “I don’t believe he is genuinely remorseful for his actions. If I had not recorded the attack on my dash cam I do not believe he would be taking the same position he seems to be taking today. Would he be taking these actions if there hadn’t been criminal charges and my lawsuit against him?”
Shortly after the November incident, the Uber driver filed a $25,000 lawsuit against the former exec for “assault, battery, and infliction of emotional distress,” NBC’s Southern California affiliate reported. The Orange County district attorney filed charges against Golden for assault and battery, the news outlet said. Golden has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
But now Golden is firing back. The Orange County Register reports that he has filed a cross-complaint, suing Caban for $5 million.
According to court documents quoted by CNBC, Golden claims he “fear[ed] for his safety and well-being” after being ejected from the vehicle and has “suffered severe emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety, fear, pain and suffering and the loss of his job.”
Golden is claiming “invasion of privacy, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery,” according to The Register.
The former exec’s lawyer, Courtney Pilchman, also told CNBC that Caban is “quite the opportunist” and that there is “very little truth to the damages that he claims.”
You can watch the full video below. Jump forward to the 2:30-minute mark to see when Caban pulls over and the altercation begins.