Fast food worker claims boss knew of previous injury when assigning task

By Kelly Holleran | May 14, 2009

A Jefferson County man has filed suit against a fast food chain and one of its employees, alleging his existing back problems were aggravated when his supervisor forced him to get on his hands and knees to clean a deep fryer.

Richard Stubbs, who worked at Sonic Drive Inc., claims his supervisor, Lynn Jackson, told him to clean out a filter on a deep fryer on Feb. 22.

"Ms. Jackson told him to 'get down there and pull that out' despite her knowing that Mr. Stubbs suffered from prior back problems," the suit filed May 12 in Jefferson County District Court states.

Because he cleaned the filter, Stubbs injured his back and complained to Jackson. However, Jackson would not allow Stubbs to go home, which further aggravated his back problem, the complaint says.

"As a result, Mr. Stubbs injured and/or aggravated the L5 disc/nerve root in his lower back resulting in permanent and debilitating injuries as well as medical expenses," the suit states.

Because of his injury, Stubbs has suffered past and will continue to suffer mental anguish, physical pain and suffering and incurred medical expenses, according to the complaint.

He also experienced and will continue to experience disability, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of earnings and earning capacity, he claims.

At the time of Stubbs' s injury, Sonic Drive In did not have workers' compensation coverage, and so is held liable for his injuries, he says.

Sonic Drive In and Jackson negligently failed to adequately train Stubbs, failed to assist Stubbs, failed to properly inspect Stubbs's work, failed to provide safety equipment, failed to provide a safe place for Stubbs to work, failed to provide an adequate work force for the task Stubbs was assigned and failed to enforce safety rules, according to the complaint.

Stubbs is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled.

He is represented by Mark Sparks of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: B184-047.

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