Ex-Taco Bell Executive First Apologizes For Slapping and Abusing Uber Driver . . . And Then Sues Him For $5 Million

ben_golden_c0-2-640-375_s885x516taco16n-2-webA 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.

25 thoughts on “Ex-Taco Bell Executive First Apologizes For Slapping and Abusing Uber Driver . . . And Then Sues Him For $5 Million”

  1. The uber driver had a dashcam on his car. People often have these and are able to use them to show fault in auto accidents or fake insurance scams where people purposely cause an accident.

    Once the uber driver recognized that his passenger was getting completely out of hand, he turned the video backwards to point at the passenger. The passenger was in the equivalent of a taxi and has no expectation of privacy just as you have no expectation of privacy or not being filmed when walking down the street.

    If everyone thought the Taco Bell guy was a giant A-hole before, it is not definitely confirmed. I think his days of being an executive are pretty well over and he would be lucky to get a job stuffing taco shells in the future.

  2. Tim, I am certain is he is going after any of the driver’s insurance, uber, and then uber’s insurance company

  3. I know of persons, who if they were the Uber driver, would have made that the worst day of Golden’s life. Getting maced would be like a picnic compared to Golden’s current woes. Golden is apparently someone not well adapted to experience rejection.

  4. Bam Bam:

    Stores post signs that there are security cameras filming. Entering the store gives implied consent to be filmed.

    I would have thought that an uber car open to the public would fall under this law. Also, if the driver was obviously holding a camera in his face, then Golden knew he was being filmed.

    Another interesting aspect of CA’s laws are all these drones with cameras filming everyone.

    I always wondered how law enforcement use body cams and dash cams for all of their stops, both audio and video. I think these recordings are essential to policing. They allow us to see when things go wrong, and exonerate cops when they are wrongly accused. But they seem to contradict two party consent.

  5. Did everyone click through and find the video? That Uber driver got walloped! Totally blindsided, and that drunk guy turned out to be a really muscular dude!

    At least he got maced at the end, but yea, he should probably pay the Uber driver damages…

  6. In most two-party states, public videos don’t count. He was in public while being recorded and should not have an expectation to privacy.

  7. The guy corroborated his crimes by expressing remorse in an interview. Evidence is evidence. The guy should go to jail for assault and stupidity. The lawyer should lose his license for attempting to pervert justice, and do six months in the pokey. The rest is nothing more than the perverted by products of an exemplary judicial system. However, somehow, common sense should trump legal blather.

  8. Ash, Good comment. One party consent should be in all 50 states, or Congress should simply act on it to eliminate the issues that often arise when someone in a one party state is taping a telephone conversation of someone in a 2 party state. I believe that was an issue w/ Linda Tripp taping Lewinsky.

  9. Me thinks he got some bad advise, law suits like this are why the person bringing the suit should be responsible for all costs if he loses the suit.

  10. Why does he think a cab driver has $5 million? Was he still drunk when he filed the lawsuit?

  11. For those unfamiliar, there are one party and two party consent states. One party means you can tape the CONVERSATION, personal or telephonic, w/ only your consent. Two party means the other person must be informed the conversation is being taped and must give explicit consent. However, that is for audio. Regarding video, anything in public is public. One has no expectation of privacy in a vehicle. There are windows on all sides. I have presented video evidence of people allegedly w/ severe neck problems turning their heads in all directions as they backed out of parking stalls and then drove. The plaintiff’s attorney has objected in several of these cases and in each case was overruled. What I have said on the stand is that while people do tend to think they are in their own world as they drive, they are not. We see people singing, picking their nose, etc. thinking no one can see them when in truth, we can all see them. So, I could see a judge not allowing the audio part of this evidence, but letting in the video. And of course, the video is key.

  12. If I were him, I’d take the advice of his former employer, Taco Bell, and make a run for the border.

  13. This case might worthwhile for review by Uber in considering placing an implied consent clause allowing drivers to record audio and video in exchange for contracting into the fare agreement. It would make future claims such as this moot.

    I cannot see a jury being sympathetic to Mr. Golden, especially when the key piece of evidence is his assaultive behavior. This too would be an interesting suppression hearing.

  14. I must be missing something. Why should this California-based case be treated any differently from those occasions where individuals walk into a local Wal-Mart in Los Angeles, for example–without question, private property–and are filmed, without their express, written consent, committing any variety of crimes, such as assault and shoplifting? Aren’t those tapes routinely used to assist in the prosecution of alleged criminals in California?

    I happened to be channel surfing one night, right around the time that this event occurred, and I managed to catch Golden, being interviewed about the matter. I listened and watched as Golden, himself, tearfully told a reporter how sorry that he was for his reprehensible actions that evening, which were committed, allegedly, in a drunken stupor, and how those actions were so out of character for him. He willingly, and with full knowledge, scheduled an interview with reporters and sat down to be interviewed, as the cameras rolled, and now complains about its distribution? What did he think was going to happen with that tape?

  15. Two party consent laws have always been stupid, and are actual shameful indictments of our lawyer and legislature class.

    Based on 1930s telephone wiretap policy until recently they mostly made audio recordings illegal while letting video without audio be legal.

    HENCE, as in this case, businesses with closed circuit tv’s taking silent audio of everyone who enters a store, and their behavior as they wander around the store.

    But it is shameful that lawyers and legislatures let this way out of date law remain on the books and then misapply to suit their needs without working on better law.

    Recently, California amended their law to allow one party recording if someone is threatening you with felony violence. Ironic that I can expect California to throw out this recording since he didn’t threaten him first, he was recording prior to the violence.

    But it’s just nonsense that emails, letters, all sorts of evidence is allowable, but actual audio recording? Not unless both parties consent.

    An honest judge would toss both the taco bell exec and his lawyer into the pokey, let them reconsider their errors.



    California colleges to make proving innocence a punishable offense

    …new policy is coming out of California, which led the way in inserting campus bureaucrats into the bedroom with its “affirmative consent” policies. These policies mandate how students must engage in sexual activity – not as a passionate act but as a contractual question-and-answer session. The only way to prove one followed such a policy is to videotape the encounter, but now, California colleges are making such recordings a violation of school policy.

    “Aggravated conduct is sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking, in which at least one of the following factors is present: use of force, causing or taking advantage of incapacitation or recording or showing sexual images without consent,” Salvaty said.

    New policies in effect at California universities also shift the adjudication process away from hearings and evidence and deliberation to the single-investigator model, which is opened to severe bias. Now, an investigator and the university (who is under pressure from the Education Department to find more students responsible) will conduct the investigation and determine culpability. If the accused student is found responsible he or she (more likely he) can appeal the decision and only then will he get a hearing.

  16. That state is liberal land, hipocrisy at every corner and in every über cab. I wouldn’t live there if you paid me to. . . . never! lol

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