A nanny for actor LaKeith Stanfield and his wife filed a lawsuit Thursday after allegedly not being paid after a harrowing New York trip that included sleepless nights and no time to eat.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, states that Stanfield and his wife, Kasmere Trice Stanfield, violated numerous labor code violations during an October 2023 trip. The lawsuit states that the couple hired Monica Sawyer as a $500-a-day travel nanny for their New York City trip with their infant. During the 8-day trip, Sawyer alleges that she barely had time to eat, sleep, or shower because of the constant requests from Stanfield and his wife. She claims that the Oscar-nominated actor and his model wife have yet to pay her for the harrowing trip.
“This is a stunning case of elitism by two celebrities who can clearly afford to pay Ms. Sawyer. They could have just shown her even a modicum of respect and humanity and merely paid her for the time she worked and all this would be moot,” Sawyer’s lawyer, Ron Zambrano, said in a Thursday statement. “But given their failure to pay and dismissive attitudes, we’re now forced to seek legal remedies for Ms. Sawyer, and the case is clear.”
“Pay her what she is owed now or we’re very confident a jury will find in our favor, and they’ll just pay more,” the lawyer added.
Zambrano told The Daily Beast that Sawyer has “elected not to give statements” at this time. Reps for Stanfield did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit states that the trip began on Oct. 31, when the family and Sawyer checked into the Greenwich Hotel. In addition to Sawyer’s grueling schedule, the lawsuit states that the infant also slept in the nanny’s room every night, even though the child “woke up every 2.5 hours, remaining awake for approximately 45 minutes each time.".
On the second day of the trip, “[Trice Stanfield] consistently messaged [Sawyer] with specific instructions for the infant’s care,” the lawsuit states, adding that the mom would instruct the nanny to “read ‘Goodnight Moon’ to the infant during the next feed, make time for reading, learning, seeing nature, and tummy time.”
“Trice also gave specific instructions that during tummy time, [Sawyer] should show her face to the infant, stay either in front or beside them, engage their legs, place their arms close their body, and use specific words of encouragement,” the lawsuit added.
On Nov. 2, the lawsuit alleges, the group relocated to another hotel with adjoining rooms. The next day, Sawyer followed the infant’s normal schedule and updated Trice Stanfield every few hours about her child. Sawyer, however, had a telemedicine call that day and asked for a one-hour break—a request that was granted but met with “aggression and attitude.”
The lawsuit states that by Nov. 4, the nanny’s exhaustion started to set in. Sawyer allegedly expressed that she was drained and requested a few hours off each day for the remainder of the trip. While the couple agreed to take the infant for four hours daily, the lawsuit states that they did not leave Sawyer alone for a much-needed break.
“Trice continuously messaged [Sawyer] requesting access to her room, giving detailed instructions of how to prepare the infant’s bottles, and requesting that Plaintiff bring a prepared bottle to [the Stanfields'] room,” the complaint states. “[Sawyer] was not in her hotel room at this time and had to return to her room to give Trice the materials to make a fresh bottle.”
The next day, the lawsuit states Sawyer was at dinner during her break when she got a request from Stanfield about the child getting juice, forcing the nanny to call the hotel to have the beverage delivered to the room. When Sawyer got back to the hotel that night, the lawsuit states she was met with the “silent” treatment from the Stanfields.
The lawsuit states that on the last day of the trip, Trice Stanfield asked Sawyer to take care of the baby on the flight home, meaning the nanny would have to keep the baby on her lap. Sawyer responded that she did not feel comfortable with that request because she did not feel like it was safe.
“Trice went over to Plaintiff’s room to demand an explanation,” the lawsuit states, adding that Sawyer “reiterated that she was not comfortable holding the infant on her lap during the flight because it is a safety risk.”
“She also expressed her frustration for having the infant for seven days straight with no breaks to use the restroom, eat, or even shower,” the lawsuit added.
The lawsuit claims that in response, Trice Stanfield said “that’s the role of the travel nanny” and that none of her past hires had ever asked for a break. Then, the lawsuit alleges, Trice Stanfield canceled her flight, forcing her to pay for her flight back to Los Angeles. Since then, Sawyer has not been paid and is now demanding a jury trial.