A three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal for the 2nd Appellate District has upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit against an accounting firm working for a celebrity-owned restaurant.
The court held that the firm, Gumbiner Savett, can’t be accused of negligence for allegedly overreporting the incomes of servers who were forced to pool tips while working for Ago Restaurant, which is owned by actor Robert DeNiro, director Ridley Scott and producer Harvey Weinstein.
A waiter at the Los Angeles restaurant, Emanuele Giacometti, had argued that the discrepancies in Gumbiner Savett’s preparations of his W-2 forms caused him to get audited by the IRS. According to Giacometti, the discrepancies resulted because Ago managers forced their staff to pool 40% of their gratuities, while the managers kept the rest of the money.
Gumbiner Savett allegedly counted the tip money taken by the managers as part of the employees’ earnings. According to the opinion, the accounting practice caused the workers’ income to be overreported by as much as $30,000. According to Giacometti, the firm failed to correct his W-2 form after he notified them of the discrepancy.
Giacometti later sued the restaurant and Gumbiner Savett for negligence, in addition to conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The court ruled that the alleged harm resulted from the restaurant’s actions, not the accounting firm’s.