LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit Spanish-language radio host Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo filed against six former Univision employees accusing them of a $4.9 million extortion plot and false accusations of sexual harassment and workplace humiliation.
The civil lawsuit filed in August was tossed last week by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard A. Stone.
Robert R. Clayton, the lawyer for the employees, said Thursday that the ruling indicates the judge believed Sotelo sued to intimidate his clients and prevent them from filing their own lawsuits.
"We are glad to see that the court has seen through Mr. Sotelo's bullying extortion lawsuit against his former staffers," Clayton said.
Sotelo's lawyer, Jeffrey Spitz, said he was disappointed and will appeal. He said the judge did not weigh all of the relevant evidence.
"We are confident the defendants ultimately will be held accountable for their actions in seeking to extort our client," Spitz said in a statement.
Sotelo's long-running show, "Piolin por la Manana," was abruptly canceled by Univision without explanation last year. It was subsequently reported that a lawyer for a former staffer had written a letter to Univision seeking settlement of sexual harassment allegations.
Sotelo's lawsuit alleged that the workers had benefited from his success and wanted revenge for being fired, and tried to get him to pay them to stay quiet about their allegations.
Clayton said the employees will seek compensation for their legal fees.
The suit's dismissal was reported late Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times.
Sotelo, who was recently named to the National Radio Hall of Fame, played corny jokes and pranks on his morning drive-time show but also hosted politicians including President Barack Obama to discuss weighty issues such as immigration reform.
Sotelo, whose nickname means "Tweety Bird," also voiced roles in "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" and other movies. He now has a program on SiriusXM satellite radio.