A cup of hot coffee that was too hot, sprouts-deficient sandwiches, and a 12-inch sub that’s an inch short have all formed the basis of a lawsuit. Some may call these cases a waste of taxpayers’ money, but that doesn’t mean people are going to stop attempting to get a quick buck from allegedly erring restaurants.
Food-related lawsuits that defy logic are on the rise. The following cases, however, hover between frivolous and serious and may be worth taking a closer look.
Gordon Ramsay at The London’s hamburger that came with a side of ceramics
The Gordon Ramsay at The London restaurant in New York had a tough 2013. First, it lost its two Michelin stars due to quality issues. Then, a hamburger they served a patron earned them something much worse than a 1-star review.
While dining at the restaurant, German chef Markus Barthel bit into ‘a sharp piece of ceramic’ in his hamburger bun, which required extensive tongue surgery and caused him prolonged pain. He also alleged that the incident irreparably damaged his palate -- crucial to performing his duties as a professional chef -- and eventually cost him his job.
He sued the restaurant on two grounds: failing to ensure the safety of his dining experience and causing an injury that severely affected his earning capacity.
Needless to say, anyone who dines at a restaurant expects to be served food that’s free from foreign objects. To that end, Chef Markus’s incident is a clear case of res ipsa loquitur, which is Latin legalese used to describe situations where an injury was obviously caused by negligence.
After consistently getting bad reviews, losing two Michelin stars, and facing a lawsuit, there was no way to go for the restaurant but down. In 2014, the restaurant closed up shop.
Popeyes chicken choking hazard
Everyone knows that ordering at a drive-thru is inherently problematic: no ketchup, not enough napkins, and worst of all, wrong utensils. Nevertheless, many remain driven to brave the odds for a quick bite.
When Mississippi attorney Paul Newton Junior found a spork instead of a plastic knife in his order, he ditched the abominable utensil and ate the food using his hands. This caused a piece of chicken to get lodged in his throat, for which he had to undergo surgery.
Attorney Newton sought financial compensation and punitive damages for choking on his chicken, and demanded that the fast food chain include knives with all drive-thru orders.
We won’t guess the outcome of the lawsuit, but we don’t suppose he cited res ipsa loquitor in his defense as there was no clear sign of negligence on putting spork on a takeout order.
Houston’s Restaurant artichoke special that ought to come with eating instructions
Seeing ‘Grilled Artichokes’ on a menu is enough to make your mouth water even if you don’t know what an artichoke is. But whenever you’re feeling gastronomically adventurous, always err on the side of edibles.
In 2010, Doctor Arturo Carvajal ordered ‘Grilled Artichokes’ on Houston’s Restaurant in Miami and noshed on whole artichokes, including the inedible parts, which resulted in abdominal pain caused by the leaves lodged in his bowels.
Doctor Arturo filed suit accusing the restaurant of failing to explain how to eat an artichoke. To be fair, whole artichokes aren’t easy to eat (and digest), and these types of cases really make you think. For example, is it unethical for restaurants to serve lobsters and not tell diners that they're not supposed to eat the shell?
On a serious note, it’s tricky to fault a restaurant for not providing instructions on how to consume certain dishes. On the one hand, a diner might take offense at being taught how to eat a certain dish. But on the other hand, it may be worth examining if eating instructions should be provided for foods often consumed the wrong way.
If your complaints about a dining experience go beyond finding a fly on your soup, call Seattle personal injury attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur or Williams for advice on your unsavory, potentially life-threatening dining experiences.