Teen-ager sues McDonald's guard

December 03, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

An Owings Mills teen-ager contends that he was thrown out of a McDonald's restaurant in Ellicott City by a security guard after spilling his drink on the floor.

The youth is seeking $725,000 in damages in a civil suit his mother filed on his behalf in Howard Circuit Court in the Nov. 28, 1992, incident at the McDonald's in the 9200 block of Baltimore National Pike.

The plaintiff also wants $3.14 as compensation for the meal that was thrown out by the security guard before he had a chance to eat it.

Jason Landsman, whose mother Sandra Landsman filed the suit on his behalf on Nov. 26, names guard Cordell Leon Walker of Woodlawn; and Security America Services Inc., a Baltimore company where Walker works; and McDonald's Corp. as defendants.

Walker, 24, was found guilty of battery and malicious destruction charges filed by Mr. Landsman in a Howard District Court trial earlier this month. Walker, who could be given up to 20 years in jail, will be sentenced on Jan. 20.

In the complaint, Mr. Landsman said the security guard attacked him when he refused to clean up the spilled soda and asked to see a manager to get a refund for the food that Walker had thrown away.

"At that time he threw me through the door and before I could get up he picked me up and threw me through the next door onto the parking lot," Mr. Landsman says in the suit. He was 16 at the time.

In a related case, Walker was found not guilty of a battery charge filed by a friend of Mr. Landsman. The friend alleged the security guard pushed her against a wall when she confronted him about attacking the youth.

Walker could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Leonard Shapiro of Owings Mills, said he expected the suit to be filed, but has not reviewed it.

"I don't believe the outcome of the criminal case will be material to the civil case," said Mr. Shapiro, who added that he may appeal Walker's conviction to Howard Circuit Court after he is sentenced.

Melvin Bilal, a spokesman for Security America Services, said he was aware of the civil suit, but has not yet seen it.

"As far as we're concerned, we don't know what they're talking about," he said.

A McDonald's spokesman said it would be "inappropriate" for the company to comment on pending litigation.

McDonald's and Security America Services should be held responsible for Walker's actions because they employed him at the restaurant, the suit says.

According to the suit, Mr. Landsman went to McDonald's on a Saturday at 9:45 p.m. with his girlfriend and two other friends. He bought a burger, fries and a soda and accidentally dropped the drink as he walked to a table.

Mr. Walker -- who is 6 feet tall and weighs about 320 pounds -- confronted Mr. Landsman and ordered him to clean up the spilled drink, the suit says.

The guard then took the youth's meal and threw it in a trash can, the suit says.

When Mr. Landsman approached employees for a refund, Walker grabbed him and threw him out of the restaurant through a set of double glass doors, the suit says.

Mr. Landsman had to seek medical treatment for his injuries.

Robert Handler, a Towson attorney for the youth, declined to elaborate on his client's injuries.

Mr. Landsman has requested a jury trial for the suit, but no proceedings have been scheduled.

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