Lawsuit claims gossip slanders local man

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McDonald’s owner and employee named as defendants

By Larry Rowell

A Liberty man has filed a lawsuit in Casey County Circuit Court claiming that a McDonald’s employee told customers and other employees that he was a child molester.
Matt Davis, 40, represented by Jamestown attorney Matthew DeHart, filed the suit the end of July against McDonald’s Corporation, Mark Prater, owner of Liberty’s McDonald’s, and Michelle Harrison, an employee at McDonald’s in Liberty.
“The basis of the claim is an employee disseminating slanderous information, it’s unconscionable,” DeHart said.
The complaint states that on or about March 10, 2012, Harrison said to employees and customers that “Matt Davis is a child molester.” That same day, court records state, Harrison approached another McDonald’s customer and again identified Davis, saying “he is a pedophile.”
The complaint also accuses the McDonald’s Corp. and owner Mark Prater of Lawrenceburg of failing to provide any training to its managers or employee concerning making allegations against customers, or try to verify the statements.
Davis, a native of Casey County, denies the allegations and said that he’s never been arrested or interviewed by law enforcement officials about any pedophilia accusations.
“I know of no incident regarding Mr. Davis,” DeHart said.
Davis is not listed as a registered sex offender on the Kentucky State Police Sex Offender Registry Web site.
Davis said that since his divorce in 2010, he’s gone to McDonald’s to have something to do.
“I went there to drink coffee pretty much everyday,” he said, adding that no one from management had approached him alleging any criminal behavior before the incident he states happened with Harrison.
The complaint seeks unnamed exemplary and punitive damages and attorney’s fees from the defendants.
Still, DeHart said the complaint is about Harrison admitting to the remarks she allegedly made against Davis.
“We want an acknowledgment from her that these allegations she has made are absolutely baseless. She had no reason to believe these allegations are true,” DeHart said.
Hearing set
McDonald’s Corp. has filed a motion for summary judgment that is scheduled to be heard in Casey Circuit Court on Nov. 26.
The motion seeks to have the complaint against the corporation dismissed, distancing the corporation from the local restaurant, citing it doesn’t own or operate the business, control the day-to-day activities, hiring firing or disciplining of employees, nor does it sell any products at the Liberty McDonald’s.
Both Prater and Harrison, through Louisville attorneys Edward Stopher and Chastity Beyl, filed an answer on Oct. 16 to Davis’ complaint.
Prater and Harrison deny the allegations made against them and also seek to be dismissed from the complaint.
A call to Prater was not returned. Harrison declined to comment on the advice of her attorney.