Watch CBSN Live

Calif. woman suing McDonald's in novel prostitution case

Fast food, fast buck? A woman who met her husband while working at McDonald's is suing the fast-food chain, because he allegedly forced her into prostitution CBS

(CBS) LAS VEGAS - A California woman clearly doesn't think McDonald's is her kind of place - she's suing the fast-food giant,  claiming that her husband, whom she met on the job at McDonald's, forced her into prostitution.

According to the Courthouse News Service, Shelly Lynn filed a complaint in a California federal court that her ex-husband, Keith Handley, forced her into life as a prostitute after she told him she wanted to be a performer in Las Vegas.

Lynn claims she was "economically and psychologically" coerced into prostitution by Handley, whose company Ivernia owns or owned McDonald's franchises. She is also suing Ivernia and her ex-husband.

Lynn says in the complaint that McDonald's "failed to conduct a due diligence into the moral character of Handley when it sold franchises to him," reports the newspaper. She added that "Handley also engaged in pimping operations out of the McDonald's franchises he owned."

Lynn says that Handley forced her to become a call girl at the Chicken Ranch brothel in Pahrump, Nev., in December 1986.

The complaint states that the ex-husband "began pressuring Lynn on an almost daily basis, arguing with her every day that she needed to become a prostitute in a legal brothel," according to the news service. Lynn claims she was having sex with up to 12 men a night at the brothel.

Included in the allegations against McDonald's, she says the restaurant works to keep unions out, offers an inferior health care plan and no pension benefits. Most employees, she says, are paid minimum wages, as was Lynn. And, she says in her complaint, "There is no affirmative action to encourage women employees and other women to purchase franchises."

Lynn seeks lost wages, special damages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for sex trafficking and racketeering, among other claims.

View CBS News In