Jury Reaches Decision In McDonald's Strip-Search Hoax Case

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A jury awarded $6.1 million Friday to
a woman who said she was forced to strip in a McDonald's back
office after someone called the restaurant posing as a police
Louise Ogborn, 21, had sued McDonald's Corp., claiming the
fast-food giant failed to warn her and other employees about the
caller who already struck other McDonald's stores and other
fast-food restaurants across the country.
Ogborn had been seeking $200 million but was awarded $5 million
in punitive damages and about $1.1 million in compensatory damages.
"There's nobody in the world worth $200 million," juror Kay
Parrish told reporters, adding the amount awarded will enable
Ogborn to "live well the rest of her life" and "put all this
behind her."
McDonald's attorneys argued the company was not responsible.
A teary Ogborn hugged relatives after the verdict was read and
later expressed relief the case was over. Speaking to reporters
gathered outside a judicial center and with her attorney at her
side, the soft-spoken Ogborn said she planned to use some of the
money to attend law school.
Her attorney, Ann Oldfather, called the decision a "resounding
rejection" of McDonald's claim that it shouldered no fault for
what happened to Ogborn at the restaurant about 20 miles south of
"Louise has stood up for what happened to her and what
McDonald's failed to do for three and a half years, and this jury
just vindicated her completely," Oldfather said.
McDonald's is evaluating whether to appeal the decision, a
spokesman said.
"While we are disappointed with the verdict, we remain vigilant
in our efforts to protect our employees and provide them with a
safe and respectful workplace," said William Whitman, a spokesman
for McDonald's USA.
The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of
sexual abuse. Ogborn's name, however, has appeared in previous
newspaper and broadcast stories with her permission.
In setting the compensatory damages, the Bullitt County Circuit
Court jury put half the blame for the incident on McDonald's and
the other half on the unnamed caller. Oldfather told reporters
later that she would argue that McDonald's should be held liable
for the entire $6.1 million.
The jury, whose deliberations spanned about 13 hours over two
days following a four-week trial, also awarded $1.1 million to
Donna Summers, a former McDonald's assistant store manager who also
sued the fast-food chain. Summers led the strip search of Ogborn at
the direction of the hoax caller.
Summers was placed on probation for a misdemeanor conviction in
relation to the incident. Her former fiance, Walter Nix Jr., is
serving five years in prison for sexually abusing Ogborn during the
hoax call.
A Florida man, David Stewart, was acquitted last year on charges
of making the hoax phone call. Police have said the calls stopped
after Stewart's arrest.
On Friday, Summers expressed vindication with the verdict.
"For the first time in three and a half years I can hold my
head up," she said.
Ogborn, who was 18 at the time of the search, accused the
company of negligence leading up to the events in April 2004, when
she was detained for 3½ hours.
In the lawsuit, she said someone called the restaurant in Mount
Washington impersonating a police officer and gave a description of
a young, female employee, accusing her of stealing from a customer.
The caller instructed an employee to strip search the woman,
according to testimony.
Ogborn was forced to undress, endure a strip search, and to
perform sexual acts, the lawsuit said. The events were captured on
surveillance video, which was shown to jurors during the trial.
Summers and Kim Dockery, a McDonald's assistant manager, also
were named as defendants in Ogborn's suit, but the jury ruled they
did not have to pay any damages. Oldfather said that Summers and
Dockery were duped by the hoax caller, as other fast-food
restaurant managers across the country had been.
"Everybody is still suffering because of this, and now maybe
McDonald's will suffer a little bit in the pocketbook," Oldfather

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Ricky Location: Lancaster on Oct 9, 2007 at 06:41 AM
    A strip search is only done at the jail after you are arrested. DUH!! on the part of all involved.
  • by Casey Location: Lexington on Oct 8, 2007 at 02:17 PM
    I agree with Richard and Mel. Where is the common sense people? How stupid would you have to be to listen to some idiot on the phone claiming to be a cop and do the silly things he told them to do. On the other side of it, how stupid would you have to be to stay there and be subjected to what she was subjected to? Did she not have enough sense to realize how ridiculous it was and leave? I don't think they should have gotten one dime out of this.
  • by SGT HOWARD Location: KY on Oct 8, 2007 at 10:46 AM
    How about read the paper, watch the news Kathy from Whitley, how could you agree that McDonalds is at fault? how could they protect one from being stupid? How could Summers sue Mcdonalds either? she participated in this, how could she get paid? why dont these lowlifes get a job and work like the rest of us?
  • by Kathy Location: Whiltey on Oct 6, 2007 at 07:54 PM
    McDonalds should have protected their employees. If they knew that this was going on tell their employees. Post it by the phone on a bulletin board etc.
  • by Buddy Location: McDonalds on Oct 6, 2007 at 07:09 AM
    Over six million stripped and served
  • by Shanna Location: Bell on Oct 5, 2007 at 01:12 PM
    I got things to say that she should not have gotten anything. She is probaly saying look at those dumb people coning them out of the money. If she was any woman at all she would have said no she didn't have to do anything but she did and it's her fault if I was McDoanlds I would ban her from eating there and entering there. She is set the rest of her life and want have to work. It's amazing what people give to stupid people for being dumb and careless
  • by mel Location: lex on Oct 5, 2007 at 12:55 PM
    So it really does pay to be an idiot.
  • by Tammy Location: Somerset on Oct 5, 2007 at 12:26 PM
    Way to go Louise!!
  • by mike Location: versailles on Oct 5, 2007 at 11:24 AM
    just another example of wanting excess in a lawsuit, 200 million? come on! It is terrible that the lady had to endure the strip search, but the individuals involved should have been put in jail, McDonalds is not to blame in this, and there should have never been 6 million dollars given to the woman, the more this happens the more silly law suits will clog up the already ruined justice system. I bet she still eats at the restaurant too.
  • by *richard Location: campbellsville on Oct 5, 2007 at 11:09 AM
    i didnt know you could get 6 million dollars for being stupid,anyone with one eye and half sense should have refused to strip or preform any kind of sex act because someone on the phone says to, what an idiot
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