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Judge dismisses discrimination claim against franchise

A Farmington woman’s discrimination suit was dismissed on summary judgment after a ruling that the plaintiff did not name the proper parties in various documents related to the matter.

The case concerned claims by Sheryl Radford who filed against K-Mac Enterprises, a Taco Bell franchisee, and the establishment’s manager, Jennifer Franks. Radford alleged discrimination based on disability due to cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

But Paul King, who represented the defendants, said that the actions Radford claimed as discrimination occurred days before his client took over operation of the restaurant from the previous franchisee.

“When I went up there to take depositions of the plaintiff . . . the plaintiff confirmed the date the discharge took place repeatedly, but it turned out to be a date before K-Mac owned the place,” he said.

The ruling by St. Francois County Judge Rob Fulton found that both the Charge of Discrimination and Complaint Interview Form filed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights identified Sept. 13, 2012 as the date of alleged wrongful discharge, while the purchase of the restaurant by K-Mac occurred a week later.

The plaintiff’s complaint against Franks was dismissed on the grounds that the manager was not mentioned in the original documentation.

“Plaintiff’s failure to name Defendant Franks as an ‘Employer’ in her Charge, or subsequently amend her Charge to do so failed to put Defendant Franks on notice that she could be held individually liable based on the allegations in Plaintiff’s Charge,” Fulton wrote.

The judgment also said that Radford had not established herself as a person with a disability under MHRA and did not provide her employers with any documentation regarding epilepsy or cerebral palsy.

According to Franks, she was simply discharged for “unacceptable attendance.”

The plaintiff’s second amended petition identified the date of termination as Oct. 1.

King said the plaintiff claimed she simply misspoke or didn’t properly recall the date.

“The court just had none of that because she had repeatedly identified the date when it occurred,” he said. “That was one of our arguments.”

The court granted summary judgment and dismissed the matter with prejudice.

Daniel J. McMichael and Michelle K. Faron of McMichael & Logan were listed as representing the plaintiff. They did not respond to a request for comment.

Defense judgment

Employment

Venue: St. Francois County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 14SF-CC00145/Sept. 4, 2018

Judge: Rob Fulton

Last Pretrial Demand: $21,000

Caption: Sheryl Radford v. K-Mac Enterprises, d/b/a Taco Bell; Jennifer Franks

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Daniel J. McMichael and Michelle K. Faron, McMichael & Logan, Kirkwood

Defendant’s Attorneys: Paul W. King, Springfield