Valiant Law has just filed suit on behalf of a former beverage cart attendant, Peyton Stover. In the lawsuit against Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach, California, Stover alleges that management sided with members when she approached them about the alleged harassment.
Stover is suing the golf club for over $15 million after claiming that she was groped and sexually harassed by members while working there. In the Complaint filed with Orange County Superior Court on January 24, 2023, the 26-year-old alleged that management at Old Ranch County Club failed to protect her from harassment and assault by its affluent club members.
Stover, originally from Washington state, was hired to serve refreshments at the upscale golf club in April 2019, she is represented by Raymond Babian with Valiant Law. Stover’s lawsuit alleges that within months of starting her job, she “complained that members repeatedly touched and propositioned her and forced her to drink with them.”
According to the court complaint, one member allegedly told Stover he would pay $300 to see her breasts and then lifted up her shirt in the presence of other members. The members allegedly pushed her against a golf cart and poured alcohol on her to force her to drink.
Stover claimed another club member kissed and threw money at her and asked her to move into a spare room above his garage – a request she promptly denied. A different member also allegedly “attempted to groom” Stover by asking her to start a sex toy business with him.
“I was really scared and nervous,” Stover said in a statement to People.com. “I didn’t have any support, and I was convinced they were not going to do anything to protect me.”
Stover alleged she was encouraged by the club to give out her personal phone number so members could contact her about drinks and that some used the information to send her explicit messages. Stover also claims when she approached management about the ongoing harassment, their response implied club members “pay enough” to do “as they wish.”
“Old Ranch expected Stover to keep club members happy and as a result, she felt as though she had no other choice but to allow this conduct to continue despite her prior cries for help,” according to the suit, signed by Babaian, founding partner of Valiant Law.
Old Ranch General Manager Frank Herrera said he could not “comment on open legal proceedings” when contacted by People.com. Manager Mitchel Queen, who is named in the lawsuit, also failed to respond. Additionally, People.com contacted Old Ranch’s parent company, Invited, formerly known as ClubCorp, for comment, but did not immediately hear back. The parent company is in Dallas, Texas, and owns or operates more than 200 golf and country clubs worldwide.
Stover is pursuing economic damages above $5,000,000 and compensatory and non-economic damages over $10,000,000. Additionally, she claims Old Ranch required her to work long hours without meals or rest breaks, and she is seeking compensation for underpayment of wages and “other wage-and-hour violations.”
“It’s shocking that any employer would tell an employee that club members pay enough to grope who they want, but that’s exactly what the Old Ranch told my client,” said attorney Raymond Babaian.
“A country club is not a ‘gentleman’s lounge’ where women are just there to be objectified,” continued Mr. Babaian. “No employee should have to submit to inhumane and degrading acts in exchange for having a job that pays her living expenses. The club took advantage of an inexperienced and scared employee because it wanted to put profits over safety.”
Babaian said Old Ranch viewed Stover as “another revenue-producing tool to help the club boost the bottom line.”
Stover called her time at the golf club, “the most traumatic experience I’ve ever had.”
“It took a long time after leaving that place for me to feel stronger,” she told People.com in her statement. “This really hurt my feelings of self-worth.”