Click here to read the Spanish version.
Customers and restaurants battle it out in court in these lawsuits, which have been relatively common for fast food chains since the infamous 1993 lawsuit in which a woman sued McDonald’s, winning $2.86 million after spilling nearly scalding hot coffee on herself.
Slip with ham
A woman sued Boston Italian food emporium Eataly after allegedly slipping on a piece of prosciutto.
Alice Cohen, 67, took legal action against Eataly, blaming her broken left ankle on a slice of prosciutto.
According to reports, Cohen’s lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court on August 11, claimed that on October 7, during a visit, she ‘slipped on a slice of ham while walking to an area where food samples were being offered to customers.’ The incident resulted in physical injury, medical expenses in excess of $7,500 and ‘loss of enjoyment of life,’ according to court documents.
Liebeck vs. McDonald’s
This lawsuit is perhaps one of the most memorable in the history of lawsuits between fast food chains and customers. A groundbreaking case in which a woman decided to sue McDonald’s after spilling her hot coffee on her own lap when she was already in the car.
She was admitted to the hospital for a week with third-degree burns on her thighs. The case went to court, and Liebeck claimed $20,000 from McDonald’s to pay for the injuries, as the chain’s coffee was kept at a scalding hot temperature of at least 30 degrees above average.
During the trial, it was revealed that at least 700 other McDonald’s customers had complained to the company about the coffee temperature over the previous decade, claiming to have suffered burns, and McDonald’s never did anything about it. In the end, the jury awarded Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages.
A flood of text messages
Beverly Hills resident Jonathan Anozie sued Papa John’s pizza chain for sending him too many text messages with pizza offers through an automated marketing system.
This case could become legally valid, as Anozie sent a ‘STOP’ text message to the robotic messaging system and the messages continued to arrive, as a practice in breach of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The court argued that the messages caused Anozie ‘great anxiety, frustration and annoyance’.
Shortage of sandwiches
In 2019, a Tennessee man named Craig Barr filed a lawsuit against Popeyes in Hamilton County General Sessions court alleging ‘false advertising, deceptive trade practices by the entity to the public’.
Barr also claimed that he wasted ‘countless time’ driving to and from Popeyes in search of an elusive sandwich, during which time his car’s tire and rim were damaged. He ended up suing the chain for $5,000, even going to trial. Since that time, it is unknown whether or not he ultimately obtained that requested amount.
Bud Light serves its ads with ice-cold beer and sexy girls, as in many other alcoholic beverage spots of the 1990s. Well, one Michigan man did not receive the product as advertised, or so he claimed.
In 1991, Richard Overton sued Anheuser-Busch Corporation alleging that the Bud Light he consumed did not transport him to a paradise full of beautiful women as the advertisement claimed. Within his claims, Overton added his suffering emotional distress, financial loss and mental damages. He sued for $10,000 and was awarded $0. The case was dismissed by the courts.
Lack of beverage prices
In 2019, Robert Cameron of New Jersey sued a TGI Fridays franchise for failing to list drink prices on its menu, which he said in 2012 caused him to order a $5 beer and a $3 soda that were more expensive than he expected.
His lawsuit alleged that the restaurant deliberately concealed prices so it could charge more, in violation of state law requiring prices for most consumer goods to be posted.
In court filings, the franchise claimed it had listed drink prices on menus since August 2017, while Cameron’s attorney expressed that not listing prices was a ‘carefully researched scheme’ intended to charge customers more.
BK sues for $17
After being double charged for a meal at Burger King, Doug and Patty Wargo, a Pennsylvania couple, demanded their money back. Although the establishment agreed, it stopped short of doing so, so they took Burger King to small claims court.
They were soon reimbursed $17.35, but then demanded that Burger King pay the court costs, to which the judge eventually agreed.