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$300,000 Arbitration Win, Defeating Trump Campaign’s Efforts to Enforce Arbitration

Outcome: $303,285.06

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Alva Johnson, Case No. 01-19-0003-0216

On March 11 2022, Alva Johnson achieved a significant victory against former President Donald Trump’s campaign in a legal arbitration case, Case No. 01-19-0003-0216. She was awarded attorneys’ fees and expenses by the campaign. The arbitration was based on a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that Ms. Johnson had signed as an employee of the Trump campaign. However, the arbitrator dismissed the NDA, citing its “vague and unenforceable” confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses. In his order, the arbitrator referenced the Denson II and Manigault-Newman cases, which he believed provided sound analyses on the constitutionality of NDA provisions in employment agreements.

The incident in question occurred during a campaign stop on August 24, 2016, inside a campaign recreational vehicle (RV) in front of other staffers. It was alleged that then-candidate Trump took Ms. Johnson’s hand, pulled her close, and attempted to kiss her on the mouth. Ms. Johnson initially sued the campaign and Trump, but later withdrew the lawsuit. Subsequently, the Trump campaign accused Ms. Johnson of violating the NDA, leading to the arbitration process. Notably, the arbitrator highlighted the campaign’s use of the unenforceable NDA to silence Ms. Johnson, stating that even if that was not their motive, the NDA’s enforcement was inappropriate due to its unconstitutionality.

In the order discussing fees and costs, the arbitrator acknowledged Ms. Johnson’s exemplary defense, crediting her attorneys from the reputable firm of Tycko & Zavareei for their competence and ethical representation. Despite facing vitriolic statements from the Trump campaign, Ms. Johnson’s lawyers presented a robust defense without any guarantee of success. The arbitrator praised the quality and caliber of the legal work conducted by Tycko & Zavareei.

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