N.M. man sues over co-workers’ ‘Kick me’ prank

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Intel workers secretly taped a “Kick Me” sign to the back of a co-worker as a prank, then kicked the confused man a number of times as employees at the Rio Rancho Intel plant laughed hysterically at the episode, according to a federal lawsuit.

The Intel employee, Harvey Palacio, said in the complaint recently filed in Albuquerque that once he suspected something was taped on his back during the August prank, he went to senior staffer Randy Lehman to ask if something was there.

“Lehman said turn around and as Palacio did he saw and heard (another employee) yell out ‘Don’t read it, just do it’,” the lawsuit said.

Lehman then kicked Palacio three times in his buttocks, according court documents.

Another employee, Chris Zeltinger, who the lawsuit said exchanged Christmas gifts with Palacio, kicked him twice as he was seeking help to remove the sign.

“Palacio decided that this could not continue and walked back in front of the group to ask someone else to remove it,” the lawsuit said. “Palacio felt demoralized and assaulted and he began to cry during the drive home. He could not tell his wife because he was so embarrassed and ashamed.”

In addition, Palacio said co-workers would hide his work uniform and filled his work bag with trash. He claims the abuse he faced over a few months was racially motivated because he’s Filipino.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount for damages and attorney’s fees.

Lehman and Zeltinger were later convicted of petty misdemeanor battery and ordered to perform 16 hours of community service. Both also lost their Intel jobs because of the prank.

Intel Corp. spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the company is reviewing the lawsuit and declined to comment further.

Diego Esquibel, Lehman’s attorney, called the episode “extremely unfortunate” and said Lehman and has not forgotten about the victim.

“He is truly sorry for any shame, sadness or pain the victim felt and his actions were never meant to cause any of those things,” Esquibel said. “My client gave a heartfelt apology at sentencing and his feelings and statements have not changed.”

No phone number was listed for Zeltinger.

——

Follow Russell Contreras at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

More in Local News

A wobbly calf grows into a 1,800-pound Lake Stevens behemoth

A shaggy and sometimes cranky bison is the last of his herd. He lives amid encroaching suburbia.

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Officials ID man shot and killed in apparent Everett robbery

Police believe the victim may have known the shooter, who drove away before the officers arrived.

Man, 60, in critical condition after Bothell crash

Police believe the driver may have been speeding when he hit a rock wall.

Missing Marysville woman found safe out of state

A Marysville senior who was reported missing in March has… Continue reading

FBI operation arrests 3 linked to exploitation of 32 women

The sting focused on Everett and other cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane counties.

Front Porch

EVENTS Seahawks event postponed A Toys for Tots Blue Friday fundraiser that… Continue reading

Man arrested in Monroe Walmart robbery; second suspect flees

The pair fled in a stolen Mitsubishi Lancer with a distinctive green spray paint job.

Dead boy’s ‘gentle giant’ uncle helped search, then confessed

Andrew Henckel, 19, of Texas, said he planned the drowning of Dayvid Pakko, 6. His bail is $1 million.

Most Read