Subway owners sue Utah town for defamation over cop's false accusation of drug-spiked soft drink
Sales dropped considerably after a Layton, Utah, police officer in 2016 accused a worker at a Subway sandwich shop of spiking his lemonade with methamphetamine and THC, according to a federal court defamation lawsuit filed by the franchise owners.
Crime lab results showed there were no drugs in the beverage, but not before Sgt. Clint Bobrowski gave an interview in which he said an officer had been poisoned at the eatery, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
The officer who ordered the beverage claims he became sick after drinking it, and an ion test–which according to the lawsuit has a ”known high false positive rate”–incorrectly identified drugs in his drink.
Franchise owners Dallas Buttars and Kristin Myers claim in their lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court, that many employees quit after being questioned by police. The accusation led to the business losing money for new employee training and in sales due to “drug stigmatization,” according to the lawsuit.
Tanis Ukena, the 18-year-old Subway employee who waited on the officer and was taken into custody, settled his lawsuit against the department last week for $50,000, the Washington Post reports. He is now serving on a Mormon mission.
Three days after the incident occurred, the police department issued a statement that crime lab tests did not find any illegal substances in the officer’s drink.
“This has been one of the worst years,” Myers told The Washington Post. “I’m in the store everyday, and I had several days were customers were coming in to give us the riot act. We also had people asking, ‘Can you put that special stuff in my sandwich.’”
Robert Sykes, the franchise owners’ lawyer, told the Salt Lake Tribune that the city offered to hire their restaurant for catering after hearing that they were considering a lawsuit.