A Lancaster County jury has awarded a former server $1,470,000 in a judgment against the local Tilted Kilt Pub franchisee, Famous Brands Group LLC and Dustin Lindgren, the restaurant manager who recorded her and others dressing in a changing room, according to court records unsealed Wednesday.
The woman, who the Journal Star has agreed not to name because she was the victim of a crime of a sexual nature, filed the lawsuit in 2014, the same year the Lincoln restaurant closed.
In addition to Lindgren, she sued the franchisor, Tilted Kilt Franchise Operating LLC; the franchisee, Famous Brands; and MLogic Holdings, which later acquired its assets.
By the time the case went to trial April 1, only Lindgren and Famous Brands — an inactive entity, according to the Nebraska Secretary of State's office — remained.
Lancaster County District Judge Darla Ideus already had found Lindgren and Famous Brands liable for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, in part because Famous Brands required servers to change into their uniforms in the restaurant changing room and continued to allow Lindgren to work after being made aware of what he was doing.
The sole issue for the jury was the amount of damages.
"In our opinion, the jury's message was clear. The $1.47 million verdict sends a significant message about why this invasion of privacy was just plain wrong and crossed all boundaries of what is accepted," the woman's attorney, Tara Paulson, said Thursday.
She said she and her client are grateful for the jury's work and the verdict. And, Paulson said, she is proud of her client. It took courage by her and others to testify about what never should happen in a workplace, she said.
You have free articles remaining.
"I think she wants to move on," Paulson said of her client, who was 19 when Lindgren recorded her changing. "This gives her some closure she didn't have before."
In February 2014, a Tilted Kilt server told Lincoln police she caught Lindgren recording her and other servers in a restaurant locker room. He had hidden his cellphone in the pocket of his jacket and left it hanging in the dressing room.
One of her co-workers had confronted Lindgren about a week earlier for doing the same thing.
The police investigation turned up about 10 videos of women undressing before and after work at the Gateway Mall restaurant between Jan. 1 and Feb. 10, 2014.
The restaurant closed later that year.
In April 2015, Lindgren, of Milford, got five years of probation and 180 days in jail for recording a person in a state of undress, a felony.
At least two other civil lawsuits filed by other servers who were victims of the same crime have been settled, including one case that had been set for a jury trial to begin Thursday.