The parents of a former Stockman’s Restaurant employee who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a restaurant manager have filed an initial response to the restaurant’s defamation lawsuit.
As is typical in many civil suits, the initial response was relatively brief. It is common for such responses to be followed up with a more detailed response later in litigation.
Carrie Royce challenged several of the claims made by the plaintiffs in her answer to the lawsuit and said she stands by her Facebook post.
“Any allegedly defamatory statements made by defendant Carrie Royce concerning Plaintiffs were true or substantially true, or were the matters of opinion and were therefore privileged under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Idaho Constitution,” the answer states.
Carrie’s husband, Daniel Royce, an attorney, filed a motion to dismiss the charge against him, saying the Facebook post in question was made by his wife, who was speaking for herself. Daniel Royce is representing himself and his wife in the response.
Attorney DeAnne Casperson said the suit against Daniel Royce was made because Carrie Royce named Daniel in her post.
The lawsuit relates to a Facebook post Carrie Royce made on Feb. 21 alleging the restaurant did not properly respond when her daughter reported a sexual assault to the owners, and that her daughter’s work hours were reduced.
Stockman’s also sued four others who made Facebook comments in support of the victim by posting negative reviews or posting the hashtag #boycottstockmans. According to the lawsuit, Stockman’s owners said they were told there was an incident between the victim and accused employee, but were not told it involved sexual assault.
The complaint alleges the Facebook comments caused a loss of business and emotional distress for the owners, and that the defendants committed tortious interference by intentionally interfering with the business.
The restaurant denied that the accused employee was a manager. Carrie Royce told the Post Register that while he was not an owner, the accused employee did have authority over other workers. Stockman’s representatives have refused to say whether the accused employee is still working at the restaurant.
Carrie Royce also disagreed that there was no discipline against her daughter. Both the Royces’ daughter and the restaurant have stated the owners, Chris Bird and Trevor Noles, arranged the schedules of the woman and the accused so they would not work together. Carrie Royce alleged in her post that her daughter’s work hours were reduced after the alleged assault.
Carrie and Daniel Royce both said Daniel went to the restaurant to speak to Bird and Noles as a father and attorney for his daughter.
Bird and Noles said in their complaint they acted appropriately. Their complaint states the victim asked for time off due to illness.
A hearing date has not been set in the case.