JEFFERSON CITY MO May 16 2017
An attorney representing Hermann Police Chief Marlon Walker confirmed Friday that the chief is considering filing a lawsuit against Casey's General Stores, Inc.
The potential lawsuit comes after Gasconade County prosecutors charged 21-year-old Daniel Robinson with harassment after allegedly throwing pizza toppings on the floor and spitting in a pizza Walker shared with his two daughters.
Grant Boyd, an attorney with Travis Noble's Clayton-based law firm, said Walker's counsel is reviewing the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act as they consider proceeding with the lawsuit against Casey's corporation. The law prohibits companies and organizations from selling goods under false pretenses.
According to documents provided by the Gasconade County Health Department, Walker notified the department of the tainted pizza February 25th. Walker told health officials at the end of December or early January, a Hermann police officer working the night shift ordered a pizza from the Casey's General Store on Market Street in Hermann. The store's manager told him an officer had his pizza "spat" on. The manager refused to tell him which officer. Weeks later, Walker confronted the manager. She told him that it was his pizza that had been tampered. The manager then told Walker the employee had been terminated December 3rd, the day after the incident.
Health department officials spoke with the manager who confirmed Robinson had been terminated. She also said the two employees who were present at the time and allowed the pizza to leave the building had been suspended. Neither employee was working for the company as of February 25th.
The manager stated she felt this was an isolated incident, therefore no further actions were required by company policies, according to the complaint report.
"Based on the health department's report and criminal complaint, employees knew who to reach out to about this but didn't," said Boyd. "This shouldn't be a company practice."
An inspection on February 27th showed the store was out of compliance in five areas of retail practices: prevention of contamination during food preparation, storage, and display; single-use storage and handling; food and non food surfaces being cleanable, designed, constructed and used; the cleanliness of nonfood-contact surfaces, and the cleanliness and maintenance of physical facilities.
The inspector noted several vent covers needed to be cleaned. The report also said the facility needed to be cleaned on a routine basis. Inspectors found single-service items were improperly stored on the floor in a back room and other food found stored on the floor of a walk-in freezer.
An inspection in March showed the store corrected the areas in which it had been out of compliance.
Boyd said if Walker's family files the lawsuit, it would be within the next few weeks.
“We intend to vigorously fight this matter on behalf of the Walker family," said Boyd. "We shouldn’t be encouraging behavior like this, or letting it become a settled norm in our society."
KRCG13 has made repeated requests for comment from Casey's, but the company had not yet responded as of Friday afternoon.