SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – The owners of a Subway sandwich shop is suing the city of Layton and its police department for making false statements that damaged their reputation.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court Tuesday by Subway owners Dallas Buttars and Kristin Myers and their attorney Robert Sykes. According to the lawsuit their business lost money and employees because of an alleged attempted poisoning of a police officer.
The case involves an employee who was accused of serving a drug-tainted drink to an officer. The story went beyond Utah and went viral on the internet.
The lawsuit claims the Subway business lost $17,000 in revenue plus another $280,000 in other losses because of the August 2016 incident.
“The facts here are egregious, and represent an outrageous violation of the constitutional rights of plaintiffs (including the Layton Subway Restaurant on Highway 193), with conduct that shocks the conscience,” said attorney Robert Sykes.
Employee Tanis Ukena was 18-years old at the time and was accused of serving the tainted drink to the officer. Police claimed an ion scanner drug test showed traces of meth and THC were in the drink. The department also claimed another test showed evidence of narcotics.
But later, tests from the Utah State Crime lab showed there was no evidence of drugs in the drink. Ukena was cleared of any wrongdoing.
In the lawsuit, Sykes claimed ion scanners like the one used by Layton police is only a preliminary test and “cannot be used in court and has a very high false positive rate for showing drugs when there are no drugs.”
The lawsuit also claimed the police department was aware that the officer tested negative for any traces of drugs at the hospital. Surveillance video was also shown to the police department shortly after the incident. The lawsuit claimed a Layton police department detective who watched the video told the owners of the Subway that “he did not think (Ukena) did anything wrong.”
Despite those findings, the lawsuit claimed Layton police continued to maintain to the media that there was an attempt to poison one of their officers. The lawsuit claimed the department wanted to wait for the results from the state crime lab before issuing any additional comments.
A spokesman for Layton police said their agency was not making any comments and referred the call to the Layton City Attorney. At this time, the office has not returned calls but historically city governments don’t comment on pending litigation.