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Jury to Deliberate in McDonald's Strip-Search Hoax Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed by a woman who was forced to strip in a McDonald's back office at the behest of a caller posing as a police officer is in the hands of a jury.

Louise Ogborn, 21, is suing the fast-food giant, accusing it of failing to warn her and other employees about the hoaxer, who had already struck other McDonald's stores and other fast-food restaurants across the country.

The jury was to begin deliberating Thursday.

Ogborn is seeking $200 million in compensatory and punitive damages. McDonald's has said Ogborn is responsible for whatever damages she suffered for not realizing the incident was a hoax.

Ogborn was 18 and working at a McDonald's in April 2004 when she was forced to strip after a man called the store, claiming he was investigating a theft. At one point during the 3 1/2-hour search, the assistant manager's boyfriend was left to handle the phone call.

Donna Jean Summers, the assistant manager, was convicted of unlawful imprisonment. Her former fiancee, Walter Nix Jr., is serving a 5-year sentence for sexual abuse and other crimes.

Summers and Kim Dockery, who also was an assistant manager at the restaurant, are named as defendants in Ogborn's civil suit. Summers also has sued McDonald's over the incident and is asking the jury to award her $50 million.

A Florida man, David Stewart, was acquitted last year on charges of impersonating an officer, soliciting sodomy and soliciting sexual abuse in the incident.

During the trial, jurors watched more than an hour of a security video of the hoax call. On the video, a nude Ogborn is shown performing sex acts on herself and Nix.

Ogborn's attorney, Ann Oldfather, asked Ogborn why she simply didn't leave the manager's office at some point during the assault, particularly when she was left alone.

"I was scared, and I was petrified," Ogborn said. "I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know if this was my last day on Earth."

During closing arguments on Wednesday, McDonald's attorney, W.R. "Pat" Patterson, said McDonald's is a good corporate citizen that cannot be held responsible for mistakes made by employees.

"McDonald's is not the evil empire they'll make it out to be," Patterson said. "It should not be punished by giving them millions of dollars."

Summers' attorney, Glenn Cohen, said McDonald's made multiple mistakes in not sufficiently warning managers and said the restaurant chain's claim that it couldn't tell all 800,000 employees about the hoax isn't believable.

"They get the word out when there is a McRib special," Cohen said. "They get the word out on how to detect a counterfeit bill. They certainly can get the word out on that."