by Max Brantley
ABC News tonight carried a long feature on Nigel Haskett, unable to get workers comp insurance coverage for gunshot wound injuries suffered when he went to the defense of a woman being assaulted in a Little Rock McDonald's restaurant where he worked.
Thus did an Arkansas Times story percolate to the top rung of the national news chain. Again, the argument is that the matter is up to the insurance carrier and that, strictly speaking, Haskett might not be due coverage because defending customers from attack was not part of his job description. The McDonald's franchise owner has stepped forward under national news pressure to say he'll pay Haskett's medical expenses if the insurance company does not. But that could be a good distance down the line for Haskett, who can't afford medical treatment currently.
ABC even appropriated our headline in its coverage -- Be a hero on your own time.
Rest of that headline story: This was a variation on a headline I'd used on a column about an earlier client of Philip Wilson, the lawyer representing Haskett. In that case, a company was fighting workers comp coverage for an employee injured while returning to work from a restroom visit. The headline: "Pee on your own time" A court eventually sided with the worker.
Do you think McDonald's could have avoided a mountain of bad publicity by following a do-right rule on this from the outset, or maybe when the Times' Doug Smith called a couple of weeks ago?
Go here for an item on where to contribute to Haskett's care.
PS -- McDonald's asserted a copyright claim (bogus, we think) that forced YouTube to take down our post of the security camera film of Haskett coming to the woman's rescue. You may still view it in our video viewer on this page.