Local News

Barbecue Exec Settles Sex Harassment Suit

Posted October 5, 2007

— As jurors were about to consider punitive damages against him Friday, the chief executive of the Smithfield's Chicken 'n Bar-B-Q chain settled a former male employee's sexual harassment suit.

The jury on Thursday had ordered Gregory Moore to pay $1.15 million to Jason Hallaman, who said Moore fired him in 2002 as his personal assistant after Hallaman rebuffed sexual advances.

The jury gave Hallaman $750,000 in compensatory damages for loss of employment and an additional $400,000 for malicious prosecution because Moore brought criminal charges against him.

The settlement stopped the trial, preventing any consideration of punitive damages. The $1.15 million compensatory damage award remains intact, according to the clerk of courts office.

Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed, but Hallaman's attorney said his client was "satisfied" with the resolution to the case.

"What we can say right now is that the whole process is over with," attorney Rob Lane said. "It's been a five-year process for him."

The jury also had awarded Moore $1 in damages in a counter-suit in which he claimed that Hallaman trespassed in one of his properties and took furniture that belonged to Moore.

Several other former Smithfield's employees testified during the two-week trial that they also rejected Moore's overtures and were subsequently fired.

Moore tearfully acknowledged to jurors Sept. 28 that he is bisexual, but he denied doing anything wrong.

Moore's attorneys said Hallaman was fired because of poor job performance and because he forged Moore's name on a check. Hallaman alleged Moore filed criminal charges about that to get revenge.

Moore opened the first Smithfield's restaurant in 1980 with his former wife and is chief executive of Smithfield Management Corp., which operates the chain of 32 restaurants across eastern North Carolina.

Two other former Smithfield's employees, both men, also filed sexual harassment lawsuits against Moore. One suit was settled, and the second is pending.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Marguerite Oct 6, 2007

    Well, it sure doesn't pay to be successful nowadays, does it? As soon as you have anything, someone will come along and take it all away. Forget getting a job and working hard to become successful yourself - just steal it from someone else. Why work when you can sue??? Especially if you are lucky enough to get a jury that evidentually slept through the entire trial!!!!! Makes me have little faith in the judicial system!

  • WTFmph Oct 6, 2007

    Rape victims get no monetary compensation.

    WOW! What an injustice.

    Apparently juries hate bisexual men.

    Even IF Moore did what he was accused of, do you really think this huge award would have been made to a female employee harrassed by a male?

    I hope the "victim" has an interesting life with his illgotten gains.

  • dryhumper Oct 6, 2007

    Well I sure won't eat at Smithfield's anymore! Not after this fiasco. Maybe Moore can take a vacation with his pool boy to get his mind off of this grueling case.

  • Marguerite Oct 6, 2007

    How could the jury not see that Hallaman is a crook???? The guy is totally creepy!! I feel so sorry for Mr. Moore and his entire family. They don't deserve this. It is blatantly obvious that Hallaman is a gold digger. How is it possible that a liar can take that much money away from a man that has slaved in restaurants for 30 years. Does anyone know what it takes to grow a restaurant business?? It is not given to you that is for sure. I worked in the restaurant business for a while and it was the absolute hardest job I could ever imagine. I hope that Mr. Moore fights this and proves to all gold diggers out there that they can't just come in and steal from hard-working, honest people like this. My thoughts and prayers are with you Mr. Moore.

  • us citizen Oct 5, 2007

    LK1215 and parr4246 The very first Smithfield's was started by Mr. Moore's parents in the 60's. I believe the confusion comes from when Mr. Moore started the chain.

    For those of you that say you won't dine with Smithfied's anymore; what about his daughter, and the employees that didn't have anything to do with any of this. Should they be punished by your lack of patronage? If the business fails then they will be victims of this unfortunate circumstance.

    I also believe that this was a rediculous amount of money. From what I have heard on the news, my opionion is that this was a way for these employees to get back at Mr. Moore. They had a little personal info on him and they used it against him.

  • NCGal Oct 5, 2007


    I know HE OWNS IT! Do you really think he'll stay after this? He's got a daughter hasn't he? He'll even sell if the business starts losing business I bet. Chances are pretty good I'll be eating barbq again.

  • Joe Blow Oct 5, 2007

    I know. The whole thing makes me sick.

  • gopanthers Oct 5, 2007

    I truly hate to say this about a human being but I think Jason Hallaman is a fraud. And I for one would watch my back if I knew him or someone like him. He just doesn't sit right with me. I don't know all the in's and outs (no pun intended) about the legal system but a grown man waiting so long to file a complaint with regard to Sexual Harassment C'mon. There's more to this story then meets the eye.

  • abcd1234 Oct 5, 2007


    It makes me angry the more I think about it.

  • abcd1234 Oct 5, 2007

    Moore was set up, No doubt about it. I agree that a little more digging and Hallaman's creditability would have been destroyed. This guy is scum.