A former Taco Bell executive Benjamin Golden, 32, recently made himself into a national scandal after being caught on videotape slapping Uber driver Edward Caban repeatedly in a drunken haze. Golden later gave a tearful apology saying “It’s not me in the video. It’s not me. It was hard to watch and I’m ashamed.” That shame appears to have now passed since he is suing Caban for $5 million. However, if those statements are admissible, he may learn that “silence is Golden”
The video shows Golden repeatedly slapping Caban and pulling the driver’s hair after Caban tells him to get out of the car on the evening of Oct. 30th.
Golden was fired after his drunken assault on Caban. Golden “sincerely apologize[d]” to the driver and his lawyer said “Mr. Golden accepts full responsibility for his actions and understands the consequences that may occur as a result.” That is a curious statement since he is now blaming Caban for the incident. He claims to have “suffered severe emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety, fear, pain and suffering” along with his loss of job.
Caban filed suit for more than $25,000 in damages for “assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.”
In the meantime, Golden is moving to block the admission of the videotape in his criminal trial as illegally made by Caban since California is a two-party consent state.
Golden is also blaming those responsible for distributing the video and complaining that the “overwhelming media coverage” has caused him deep injury in showing this drunken conduct.
It is a fascinating convergence of cases: two civil and one criminal. Running throughout the case are interesting evidentiary questions. First, there is the suppression motion based on the unlawful videotape. This is a privately generated videotape however and not one done by or at the behest of the government. Then there are Golden’s own statements and whether the jury will be able to hear his apologies.
These evidentiary questions may ultimately dictate the outcomes in all of these cases and it will be worth watching.