Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) was hit with a lawsuit on the… (Rich Pedroncelli, Associated…)
SACRAMENTO — State Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) was sued Monday by a woman alleging that he physically abused her during a months-long relationship and that he used illegal drugs.
The civil suit was filed on behalf of Carolina Taillon by attorney Gloria Allred and seeks unspecified damages against Hernandez over allegations of assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit was filed the day before Hernandez stands for reelection in a contest with Republican Joe Gardner, a retired police officer. The assemblyman's attorney, Joe Weimortz Jr., said the allegations were timed to hurt the incumbent politically.
"Assemblyman Hernandez adamantly denies these allegations,'' Weimortz said. He characterized the allegations as a calculated effort to "tarnish the assemblyman's reputation on the eve of an election.''
Allred said Taillon and the lawsuit have nothing to do with the Gardner campaign. "She is not affiliated with him and is not a supporter of his,'' she said.
Many of Taillon's accusations were previously made in an emergency protective order she obtained from a court commissioner on Oct. 28. The order was issued after a verbal altercation she had with Hernandez at the Lazy Dog Cafe in West Covina.
In the protective order, a police officer wrote that Taillon "fears for her safety due to Hernandez using cocaine." In response, Hernandez voluntarily took a drug test last week that lab officials said indicated he had not used cocaine or other drugs in 30 days.
Weimortz said Taillon is a "habitual litigant'' who sought restraining orders against two other men in the past.
In the lawsuit, Taillon says that she and Hernandez were involved in a five-month relationship and that his "behavior was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive, resulting in personal injuries'' to her.
She alleges that in July, she suffered bruises when Hernandez threatened to "whip'' her if she changed the music they were listening to — a term he used often because he was the majority whip of the Assembly, she says.
Hernandez then allegedly took off his belt and struck her on the side. He also grabbed her and slammed her against the wall, the lawsuit alleges, adding that she later took photos of the bruises. No police report was filed.
On Oct. 7, the suit alleges, Hernandez told Taillon that "he had marijuana with him and asked Plaintiff Taillon to smoke with him.'' She refused, according to the lawsuit, which alleges that Hernandez went into the bathroom at her house and that she later smelled smoke there.