McDonald's is liable for damages in an auto accident caused by an employee who worked unusually long hours, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
The employer "was much like a bartender who served alcoholic beverages to a visibly intoxicated person who then caused an automobile accident that harmed another," the court said in a 5-4 ruling.
The 5-4 ruling upheld a jury's decision that McDonald's must pay $375,000 to Frederic Faverty, who was injured when a car driven by Matt Theurer crossed the center line and hit his car in 1988. Theurer, 18, was killed after nodding off while driving home after working more than 12 hours in a 17-hour period.
Though the restaurant had policies against split shifts and against high school students working past midnight more than once a week, Theurer volunteered to do so more frequently when asked by managers.
McDonald's will appeal to the State Supreme Court.