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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Caveat Emptor

NASHVILLE (CN) - An IHOP employee drove over a customer repeatedly with the customer's own car, nearly killing him, after a dispute about a bill, the customer claims in court.

Henry Fletcher sued CFRA LLC dba International House of Pancakes in Davidson County Court.

Fletcher claims an IHOP employee savaged him after he ate breakfast with a friend in May 2013 at an Antioch, Tenn. IHOP.

The aggressive employee, Kenneth W. Hale Jr., was on parole for aggravated battery and a felony firearm conviction, Fletcher says in the complaint. He claims IHOP hired Hale despite an "extensive criminal record," including three felonies, six battery charges, felony check fraud - at least 12 convictions in all.

Hale is not a defendant in the case.

On that May morning, Fletcher says, there was a dispute over whether he and his friend had paid the bill. He claims Hale refused to let them leave the restaurant, and held them "for a period of some minutes against their will."

When they did manage to get out, Fletcher claims, Hale followed them "and persisted in behaving in a threatening manner, a foreshadowing of things to come." according

Fletcher claims that he and his friend escaped the IHOP premises but Hale and "an unknown female driver" followed them to a nearby apartment complex.

There, "Mr. Hale exited his vehicle and punched plaintiff Fletcher in the head, knocking him unconscious," the complaint states. "Mr. Hale kicked plaintiff Fletcher in the head while Mr. Fletcher remained unconscious on the ground," it adds.

Fletcher's friend apparently vamoosed.

Then, according to the complaint: "Mr. Hale entered Mr. Fletcher's vehicle and drove over Mr. Fletcher's body while he remained unconscious on the ground.

"Mr. Hale drove through the parking lot, turned around, then drove over Mr. Fletcher's body unconscious body for a second time. Mr. Fletcher's body became stuck underneath the car, and Mr. Hale continued driving and caused the back tires to also drive over Mr. Fletcher's body."

Fletcher's friend saw it all, and believed Fletcher had been killed, the complaint states.

Hale then stole Fletcher's car and drove it away while the unknown woman followed him, according to the complaint. He was arrested a short time later for attempted criminal homicide and robbery and being a fugitive from an Illinois warrant, the lawsuit states.

Fletcher was placed on life support at a hospital, and survived.

Hale is awaiting trial, Fletcher says.

Fletcher seeks $5 million plus punitive damages for negligent retention, outrage, and pain and suffering.

He is represented by David Weissman with Hollins, Raybin & Weissman in Nashville.

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