Billionaire Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have been ordered to testify in a slip-and-fall lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County by a former cleaning lady who worked in their Wellington ranch.
The famous couple, whose wealth as of today is estimated to be $92.6 billion, don't have to return to Palm Beach County for a sit-down with lawyers, but can do it in the Seattle area where they live most of the year, according to court papers.
The Microsoft founder and his wife are set to be quizzed about their sprawling horse property in Wellington, more than 20 acres of land with several homes and barns that Gates spent a total of $37 million to buy over three years.
“I’ll be flying to speak with them in June, July or August,” said Jason Williams, plaintiff Tesla Izaguirre’s attorney. “Mr. and Mrs. Gates are familiar with the home and the dangerous conditions there."
In 2015, a trust ultimately controlled by Gates and his wife was sued by Izaguirre, then one of two cleaning ladies on the property.
According to the complaint, Izaguirre was at work when she fell while going down the main house’s stairs, possibly on slippery carpet.
“My client suffered catastrophic injuries that required several surgeries,” Williams said. “She wasn’t able to return to work.”
Lisa Cicero, the trust’s lawyer, didn’t respond to an email seeking her comment.
But in her answer to the court complaint, she wrote that Izaguirre “failed to exercise due care.”