Kyle Barnett Jul. 3, 2015, 6:56am


GRETNA – A former furniture rental store manager is suing her former employer claiming they put her in dangerous situations when collecting debts that resulted in her being injured and suffering from severe mental distress, including panic attacks.

Beyunka Stewart filed suit against Rent-A-Center East Inc. and Rent-A-Center in the 24th Judicial District Court on May 15.

Stewart contends she was employed by Rent-A-Center for five years during which time she received personal injuries due to being put in dangerous situations. The plaintiff claims that on Sept. 2, 2014, a Rent-A-Center customer and three people assaulted her when she tried to collect late paymentsand that the district manager failed to call police to report the incident. Stewart alleges that after the incident she had a panic attack, passed out and had to seek medical treatment. The plaintiff asserts she requested a transfer, but was told she would be demoted if she moved to another store because there were no manager positions available so she stayed in her job.

Stewart claims that over the years she had several other problems with customers when attempting to collect debts, including having guns pointed at her, having attack dogs released on her, suffering physical abuse and having her car keyed. The plaintiff alleges all of the distress she has endured is due to the defendant’s negligence.

The defendant is accused of failing to maintain a safe business environment, failing to warn, failing to see what should have been seen, failing to exercise due caution, failing to take adequate steps to prevent injury, failing to act prudently, recklessness, operating a dangerous business environment and failing to abide by accepted procedures.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for mental anguish, emotional trauma, emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of pursuit of happiness, loss of enjoyment of life and medical expenses.

Stewart is represented by Pius A. Obioha of New Orleans-based Law Offices of Pius A. Obioha & Associates.

The case has been assigned to Division I Judge Nancy A. Miller.

Case no. 749-766.

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