FRANKLIN, Tenn. (CN) – A Red Lobster customer claims in court that a waitress defamed him by falsely accusing him of writing “nigger” on the tip line of his bill, and posting the bogus document online, to profit personally from it.
Devin Barnes sued Red Lobster and the waitress, Toni Christina Jenkins, in Williamson County Court.
Barnes say in the lawsuit that he ordered a meal to go from the Red Lobster in Franklin, Tenn., on Sept. 7, 2013 and paid with a credit card. He says he wrote “none” on the tip line of the bill, left the bill total blank, and signed it.
He claims that Jenkins, the waitress, then wrote “nigger” on the tip line and posted a picture of it on Facebook “to gain publicity and money.”
Barnes claims that he “had no further thoughts of the matter until the next day, upon receiving a phone call from a friend advising him to look at the ‘Facebook’ posts of Toni Christina Jenkins on his computer concerning him.”
Barnes says he did so, and “discovered a reference to himself as a ‘Racists’ [sic] but [sic] a copy of his ‘bank slip’ with his name [and] bank information.”
He claims that Jenkins also posted videos of the receipt on YouTube a few days later, showing his personal information again on the World Wide Web.
Barnes says in the complaint: “The defendant, Toni Christina Jenkins, would not cease in her exploitation of the plaintiff, accusing him of being a ‘racists’ and dramatizing the issue to a point that the profited from it by having and/or participating in a fund-raising computer site making almost $11,000 (eleven thousand dollars) from the wrongful use of the plaintiff’s name and bank information and defaming the reputation of your plaintiff.”
Barnes claims he hired a forensic handwriting analysis expert who can prove that he did not write the N-word on his Red Lobster receipt.
He says that he and his family have received threats “from all over the world from [sic] something he did not do.”
The only recompense Red Lobster offered him when he complained was to reimburse him for the meal, Barnes says, but he declined, saying the food was good.
He claims the Red Lobster put Jenkins on paid leave while they investigated the matter but brought her back to work after finding no wrongdoing.
Barnes seeks $1 million for defamation. He is represented by Richard Dugger of Shelbyville, Tenn.
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