More information on the case of Nigel Haskett, the former McDonald's employee who wrestled away a man beating a woman in the restaurant where Haskett worked and who was then shot by the assailant. Haskett's claim for workers compensation benefits was denied by McDonald's. The case has attracted national attention since the Times first reported on it last month.
Ray Nosler, owner/operator of the McDonald's at 10201 Rodney Parham Road where the incident occurred, has issued a written statement through an advertising agency: “Nigel's case will be presented to a Worker's Compensation judge, who will review all of the facts and decide on the case's merits. McDonald's supports Nigel's claim, and fully anticipates the judge in this process will find in Nigel's favor. As a safeguard, if for some reason his claim is denied, and other insurance options are unavailable, I intend to cover the cost of his medical expenses.” Nosler's statement left unanswered questions the Times has tried unsuccessfully to present to McDonald's, whose spokesman has declined comment. Specifically, if McDonald's supports Nigel's claim, why is McDonald's resisting the claim at the WCC? McDonald's Little Rock insurance carrier, Ramsey, Krug, Farrell and Lensing, told the commission the claim had been denied, “as it is our opinion that Mr. Haskett's injuries did not arise out of or within the course and scope of his employment.”
Since the Times article appeared, a McDonald's lawyer, Carol Worley of Little Rock, has written the WCC asking that the Haskett complaint be assigned to an administrative law judge so that a hearing could be set. Normally, it's the lawyers for claimants who ask for hearings to be set. But Chief Administrative Law Judge David Greenbaum, to whom the case has been assigned, said in a letter dated Feb. 26 that while Haskett had requested a hearing, Haskett's lawyer, Philip M. Wilson of Little Rock, had not. Greenbaum said he was inclined not to schedule a hearing if the claimant was not ready to present his case, and he asked Wilson to advise whether Haskett was requesting a hearing. Wilson had not replied when the Times went to press.
A February 26 article about Jerry Cox, executive director of the Arkansas Family Council, a Religious Right group, said that Cox declined to reveal his salary. The Council's latest filing with the Internal Revenue Service shows Cox with an annual salary of $89,333 and benefits of $15,791, for a total of $105,241. The Family Council's annual budget is around $550,000.