LOS ANGELES (CN) – “Dallas” star Victoria Principal and her former housekeeper traded lawsuits over an incident in which Principal admittedly pulled a gun on the maid. Maribel Banegas says she was fired for taking too long to walk the dog, and that when she asked for her final paycheck, Principal pulled a gun on her. Principal admits to pulling the gun, but claims she did it to protect herself after Banegas threatened her and injured her dog.
In her Superior Court lawsuit, Banegas says she told Principal that the dog needed a long walk “to do its ‘business.'” But Banegas says the actress fired her on the spot and told her to leave the house.
Banegas claims that when she asked for her final paycheck, Principal went upstairs and returned with a gun, which the actress “pointed and aimed” at her, and then ordered “another housekeeper who was present to stand aside in order that she could kill the plaintiff.”
Banegas says she locked herself into a room in Principal’s house, and called the police while Principal continued to threaten her from the hallway. Banegas says she had to wait until police arrived before she could leave.
Principal has a different version of events, according to a lawsuit filed a day later in Superior Court. She claims she was unhappy with the quality of Banegas work, and alleges that Banegas was “unacceptably loud, and behaved aggressively and with hostility toward other household staff.”
The actress says she fired Banegas the day before Christmas 2008, but Banegas didn’t take it well. She allegedly “engaged in outrageous, threatening and violent conduct” toward Principal and her permanent full-time housekeeper, Sandra Ferrior.
On Banegas’ last day of work, she allegedly shoved Ferrior and hit her on the shoulder for complaining about the door slamming. She then “grabbed Principal’s dog (a small, fragile breed weighing approximately 16 pounds) and left the residence, again slamming the door behind her as she left,” according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiff says Banegas returned to the hour an hour later, “dragging Principal’s dog into the kitchen on such a taunt leash that the dog’s front paws were lifted off of the ground and so roughly that the dog was coughing and wheezing and its eyes were bulging.”
Principal says Banegas began banging her fist on the counter and shouting, “Give me my money,” so angrily and loudly that the actress feared for her life. She describes the maid as a “formidable figure, being almost six feet tall and weighing over 160 pounds,” while she and Ferrior are “significantly smaller” women.
“Out of concern for her own safety, as well as that of Ferrior and her dog, under the guise that she was going to get Banegas money, Principal went upstairs to her bedroom and retrieved a handgun, of which Principal was in legal possession,” the suit claims. “She then went downstairs, positioned herself between Banegas and Ferrior and pointed the handgun at Banegas.” She claims she cocked the gun when Banegas stepped closer, causing the maid to finally leave her house.
Principal accuses Banegas of assault, trespass, civil extortion, animal cruelty and negligence. She demands general and punitive damages.
Banegas is represented by Chris Allgreen with McMahon & Allgreen. Principal’s attorney is Bryan Sullivan with Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard & Shapiro LLP.