McDonald's Hit with $6.1M Jury Award in Fake Strip Search Incident

October 11, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A woman who claimed she was strip searched at the McDonald's restaurant in which she worked as a result of a hoax call has won a $6.1 million award from a Kentucky state court jury.

Louise Ogborn, 21, had sued the giant fast food chain over allegations it knew about a fake caller pretending to be a police investigator who had struck dozens of other McDonald’s locations and other fast food chains, but that McDonald’s never warned its employees.

According to a Louisville Courier-Journal news report, Ogborn won $1 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in a punitive damage award.

Former assistant manager Donna Summers was awarded $100,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages of $1 million.

Ogborn had been seeking $200 million over her allegations 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 news report said.

The phony caller demanded the woman be strip searched as part of the “investigation.”

During the incident, which went on for more than three hours, Ogborn said she was strip searched and sexually assaulted. Ogborn said she was forced to undress and to perform sexual acts, the lawsuit said. The events were captured on surveillance video, which was shown to jurors during the trial.

Summers, who led the search, was asking for $50 million. She says she was convicted of unlawfully detaining Ogborn because of the company’s negligence.

The jury’s deliberations follow a four-week trial, according to the news report. The restaurant chain denied responsibility for the incident.

«