Tort Law

US Appeals Court Reinstates Suit Claiming Injury from Exploding, Hot Sandwich

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A federal appeals court has reinstated a $2 million lawsuit that claims a Florida carnival operator was injured by a McDonald’s chicken sandwich that was so hot it exploded with hot grease.

Plaintiff Frank Sutton claims the grease from the sandwich purchased at a Virginia truck stop burned his lips and face, the Associated Press reports. U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton of Alexandria, Va., had dismissed the case before jurors began deliberations, saying there was no evidence of negligence. Hilton also said Sutton was at fault by failing to make sure the sandwich was not too hot to eat, the story says.

“How many times do people get burned by soup, sandwiches, or anything else? We’ve all had that happen to us,” said U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton of Alexandria, Va., in dismissing the suit. “We all have some responsibility as a reasonable person to test the temperature of what we’re going to eat before we dive into it.”

Last month the Richmond, Va.-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 ruling (PDF) that simply biting into food does not amount to contributory negligence.

The appeals court also said jurors should have been allowed to hear evidence that a McDonald’s employee notified of Sutton’s injury said something along the lines of, “This is what happens to the sandwiches when they aren’t drained completely.” The statement would have been evidence that the restaurant failed to meet the standard of care, the court said.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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