Sadie Jackson Durbin of Louisville alleges David Mitchell brought a napkin to her at her table and asked her to cover up because a patron was complaining about her breastfeeding her 7-week-old infant at the Shelbyville Road restaurant Nov. 15. She said Mitchell tried putting the napkin over her baby’s face and her breast.
“You all I am a strong woman. And even a stronger mother,” Durbin wrote on Facebook. “There is not much that rattles me, but as I ly (sic) here in bed processing what happened, the tears continue to roll. I have never felt so humiliated in my life. I WAS FEEDING MY BABY.”
When Durbin tried to find out who the complaining patrons were, she said the manager came back to her table, threw his hands up and angrily said, “I’m not at liberty to tell you that. Listen lady; I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Durbin’s Facebook post has been shared more than 33,000 times since last week.
According to Kentucky law, “A mother may breastfeed her baby or express breast milk in any location, public or private.”
Durbin is suing the restaurant for negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent training, assault and punitive damages.
Durbin alleges the manager caused her fear when he attempted to place a napkin over her breast and her child’s head.
Travis Doster, the Texas Roadhouse vice president of communications, told WAVE 3 Mitchell “meant no ill will and he did not know the law.” He also said the store has tried to apologize to Durbin.
“He did not understand what he was doing and how it would be taken, so I would not characterize that as assault,” Doster said. “I know some early Facebook posts said he threw a napkin, in our statement we say he politely offered, ‘Can I get you a cover-up?’”
Texas Roadhouse “failed to train their employees … not to interfere with a mother’s right to breastfeed,” the lawsuit alleges.
The restaurant is going to educate its staff about breastfeeding laws, according to WDRB.
One commenter on Durbin’s Facebook post, Jenna Sizemore, said she witnessed the incident, and she claimed the manager was cautious and polite toward Durbin. She said Durbin was a disgrace to women who fight for breastfeeding rights.
“I don’t see breastfeeding as sexual or negative in any way, but there is also an aspect of decency and respect for others,” Sizemore wrote. “This woman clearly was looking for an ‘argument.’”
Others have stood up for Durbin. Millie Hayward wrote “anyone that doesn’t like it should eat at home,” and Andrea De Noma Pferdmenges said breastfeeding is “ a wonderful way to not only feed her child the best way she can, but to also bond with her baby.”
Durbin told WAVE 3 her lawsuit isn’t about money, but rather to educate the public. She is seeking compensation for past and future medical expenses and past and future pain and suffering, according to the lawsuit.
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