The ruling in McDonald’s Corp. vs. Louise Ogborn upholds
a jury award of $1.1 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive
damages for Ogborn’s sexual harassment, false imprisonment, premise liability,
and negligence claims (see McDonald’s Hit with $6.1M Jury Award in Fake Strip Search Incident).
Ogborn says she was detained in a back office at a Mount
Washington, Kentucky, store in April 2004 after the hoax caller phoned the
restaurant impersonating a police officer and provided a description of a young
female employee who he said had stolen items from a customer. The phony caller
demanded the woman be strip searched as part of the “investigation,”
and Ogborn says that during the incident, which went on for more than three
hours, she was strip searched and forced to perform sexual acts. The events
were captured on surveillance video.
McDonald’s appealed the jury award, arguing, among other
factors, that the exclusive remedy under workers compensation barred Ogborn’s
lawsuit. However, the appeals court disagreed, finding that McDonald’s knew of
30 hoax telephone calls placed to its restaurants between 1994 and 2004 (see Strip Search Hoax Case Questions McDonald’s Role).