ST. LOUIS (KTVI) — A former Steak n’ Shake employee has to pay the burger chain $80,000 after writing a social media post claiming she found worms in a hamburger at a restaurant in Florissant, Missouri.
A jury awarded Steak n’ Shake $70,000 in actual damages and $10,000 in punitive damages, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
In court documents filed before the trial, Steak n’ Shake lawyers said Melissa White was mistaken when she believed she found worms in a burger she was preparing for herself in January 2018, the Post reported.
The lawyers went on to say in the filing that what White actually saw was fat that rose to the surface of the burger patty when she applied pressure to it.
The Post reported that a district manager investigated and found no evidence of worms. White was uncooperative, triggering a call to police.
The court filing also said she posted her “defamatory” claims as well as pictures to Facebook. The post was shared at least 36,000 times.
The Post said White’s lawyer called the verdict very disappointing, adding that it could force White into bankruptcy.