False Poop Tests Lead to $2.2 Million Lawsuit

Two employees of the Atlanta company were forced to submit to cheek swab DNA tests to determine whether they matched that of the "devious defacator" in their facility. Alamy

A series of mysterious defecations in its facility prompted an Atlanta-based grocery warehouse company to swab the (mouth) cheeks of some of its employees. But its quest to identify the phantom poopitrator is costing it a lot of money.

A federal jury decided that Atlas Logistics Group Retail Services must pay two employees a combined total of $2.2 million for forcing them to submit to a DNA test. Employees Jack Lowe and Dennis Reynolds were allegedly singled out because the "incident" coincided with their shifts. They were not matches.

With the "devious defecator" still on the loose, the plaintiffs filed a suit under the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which generally bars employers from using individuals' genetic information to make decisions regarding hiring, firing, placement or promotion. The two declined an initial $200,000 settlement offer.

Though a jury decided to award the men $2.2 million on Monday, the act under which they're suing contains a $600,000 cap on punitive damages.

Dion Kohler, Atlas Logistics's attorney, told Courthouse News that "absolutely no genetic code information" had been obtained from Lowe's and Reynolds' samples, and that the jury's damage compensation is "very high based on the very little evidence they put forward of emotional injury."

"It's not over," Kohler said, hinting that the company may appeal.

On Tuesday, Atlas Logistics filed papers asking that the compensation amount be reduced.