On Wednesday March 24, 2005, an individual in San Jose, California decided to have a cup of Wendy's chili. Allegedly, when she was almost done consuming the chili she all of sudden started to panic and vomit. When the Wendy's employees started to clean up the vomit they noticed an awkward substance in remains. After they examined the substance for a longer period of time they noticed that it was a human finger that was in the chili and the individual regurgitated the finger when she got sick.
As a pre-law student my analysis is that, the injured person could sue on two grounds, product liability and/or negligence. Under product liability, this person could easily file suit for strict liability because all restaurants and places like Wendy's have standards to uphold by OSHA and other federal laws. Also, this person could sue for negligence due to a breach of duty (duty of care) because the restaurant has a duty of care to reassure that there are no foreign substances in the food they sell.
In this case it may be alleged that Wendy's breached that duty of care. But the big question is what will this person sue for? My guess is that they might try to plea for negligent infliction of emotional distress damages and will also try to be compensated for the physical body trauma that this person went through. Eating a finger and then regurgitating it would certainly cause physical trauma and also, emotional distress; because just the thought of eating a human body part can be quite disturbing.
But not only has Wendy's public relations taken a drastic hit, this story will certainly make some people think twice when they order any kind of fast food. But after a couple of weeks of investigation both San Jose Police and the Las Vegas Police fraud unit have not traced where the finger could have come from. Interestingly enough, this 39 year old woman has quite an extensive legal history and according to the News Journal (April 14, 2005) she has publicly announced that she will not bring suit against Wendy's.
Article by Craig Springer