A man who claims he suffered serious burns to his lips after eating an extremely hot fried chicken sandwich at a McDonald's in Virginia has filed an injury lawsuit against the fast-food giant. However, a federal district court dismissed his case, saying he failed to prove what standard McDonald's was required to meet in handling its food. The court also ruled that the man, Frank Sutton, was to blame for the accident since he failed to exercise reasonable care while eating his sandwich.
But things took a turn last month when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond reinstated Sutton's case after determining that if McDonald's did violate Virginia's food safety laws, Sutton had provided enough evidence for a jury deliberation.
In his lawsuit, Sutton claims that when he bit into his sandwich, scalding hot grease flowed over his mouth, and despite his wife's attempt to cool his lips with ice as soon as the incident occurred, Sutton's lips blistered. According to Sutton's lawsuit, a McDonald's employee said "this is what happens" when the sandwiches aren't drained properly.
Sutton said that seven months after the incident his lips still hadn't completely healed. He also claims he's had to avoid certain work assignments he thought could make his lips worse. He is suing the McDonald's corporation and the individual franchise for $2 million for medical bills, lost work wages, and pain and suffering.
What Sutton's case comes down to is this: do restaurants have a legal responsibility to ensure their food is safe for the public? Under North Carolina product liability laws, companies have an obligation to ensure their products are safe for public consumption. If a defect stemming from how the product was made or manufactured leads to an injury, the victim has the right to sue the product maker for damages. The same should hold true for food.
If you have suffered an injury or health complication after eating a particular brand of food, a North Carolina personal injury lawyer at Lanier Law Group, P.A. can help you pursue a claim against the individual restaurant, corporation, or both for compensation.
To schedule an appointment to discuss filing a claim, please contact Lanier Law Group, P.A. today by calling (855) 757-4204!