Courthouse News Service detailed a lawsuit recently filed in Cook County that simply is hard to believe. Jentri Casaberry alleges in his complaint that he was a swing shift manager at a Chicagoland McDonald’s franchise. The complaint goes on to allege that on July 6, 2011, Casaberry’s girlfriend went into premature labor. Mr. Casaberry stayed at the hospital with his girlfriend throughout her labor. He would shower at the hospital, go to work, and, upon completing his shift, immediately return to the hospital. Nyeem Casaberry, plaintiff’s son was born on July 8, 2011, while Casaberry was at work. Upon hearing the news, Casaberry called his supervisor, Jacqueline Carter, explained the situation and asked is she could come into the restaurant early, so Casaberry could go to the hospital and see his son. Carter agreed to come in, and arrived at 5:00 a.m. Casaberry immediately left for the hospital.
The complaint goes on to allege that just two days after his birth, Nyeem Casaberry developed an infection, requiring transfer to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. According to the Complaint, Jentri Casaberry continued shuttling between work and the hospital. On July 13, 2011, it is alleged that Jentri received a text message as he was leaving work, urging him to proceed immediately to the hospital. Casaberry left work at 7:00 a.m., and went to the hospital. The complaint alleges that upon his arrival, Casaberry learned that his son had suffered a seizure and was on life support. Additionally, the complaint alleges that several specialists spoke with Casaberry and advised that his son was not going to survive. Casaberry stayed at the hospital and made arrangements for a preacher to baptize Nyeem and for family so see the child before he died. Throughout the day, doctors indicated that Nyeem was failing. At 4:30 pm, Casaberry sent a text message to Ms. Carter to inform her of developments and asked that she find someone to cover for him, and she did. The complaint alleges that Nyeem passed away at 9:15 p.m. on July 13.
The complaint goes on to allege that on July 14, 2011, Casaberry received a call from his employer. During a discussion with another McDonald’s employee, Casaberry could overhear the franchise owner, Mr. Keith Allen, Sr., speaking loudly in the background. Casaberry then asked to speak with Allen. Casaberry allegedly tried to explain what had occurred in the preceding 24 hours, but Allen allegedly responded that those developments were not his problem and that Casaberry should have reported to work. Allen allegedly also told Casaberry that he was “done” and not to “bring his black ass back to work”. Casaberrry was fired that same day. Casaberry also alleges that after going public with the firing, he received an anonymous threat that police later traced to a McDonald’s owned by Allen.
Casaberry has sued Kandice Enterprises[the owner of the McDonald’s] and Allen, the President of Kandice, for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Casaberry is represented by Alice Setrini with the Legal Assistance Foundation. In fairness, it is very early and we are only dealing with allegations. No response of any kind from the defendants was mentioned in the article. Nothing has been proven. It would be hard to imagine any employer being so callous. If however, the allegations set forth in the complaint are true, the defendants may at some point in the near future be staring down a very angry Cook County jury.