Steak ‘n Shake suing woman over viral Facebook post claiming its burger had wormsBy William Martin 7:42 AM January 19, 2018
A woman may have to shell out a lot of money after posting a message on Facebook.
While writing an opinion about a business is protected by free speech, spreading lies is not.
Steak ‘n Shake is suing a woman in federal court in St. Louis, Missouri, because she posted a review, which they claim is false.
In the Facebook post, which went viral, former employee Melissa White wrote: “Just got fired from Steak ‘n Shake in Florissant because I found live worms while cooking a steak patty and refused to sell that meat.
“Well right now they are still selling the same meat and no one even checked it. I just don’t want everyone getting sick. I just got fired for nothing I have a family, this is not right, I did nothing wrong.”
According to the lawsuit, soon after White posted the message to Facebook, a health inspector made an unannounced visit to the restaurant.
The health inspector checked the meat that day and found no problem, the restaurant claims.
White refused to delete her comment even after a photo of the health inspector’s report and a comment that the white pieces in the meat was fat and not worms were posted.
The company claims that the false Facebook post caused “irreparable harm” to the company’s reputation.
According to the company, White was cooking a meal for herself when she claimed to have found “worms” in the burger.
White contacted the district manager about her findings but she refused to hand over the patty to him or to the general manager of the restaurant. Instead, she took it home with her, according to the lawsuit.
The company also wrote that they never fired White, but that she clocked out and told customers about the worms. Those customers immediately left and White did not show up for work for her next shift.
Steak ‘n Shake reached out to White and asked her to remove the post. She refused, and the post is still active.
The lawsuit seeks damages of $75,000 for defamation. The company is also asking a judge to order White to remove the post.
White’s attorney, Samuel Henderson, said that his client “did everything she could to protect the public.”
Henderson also said that Steak ‘n Shake did fire White and they called the police. Furthermore, he said that she was initially told by the district manager not to show the patty to anyone.
She kept the burger, which is in the process of being tested, Henderson said.