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Restaurant Accidentally Serves Chemicals

Dining in a restaurant is meant to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Customers normally don’t question the food and beverages they are served. That is what makes the following story so disturbing.

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Server Mistake Harms Restaurant Customer

William Cronnon was dining at a Tennessee Cracker Barrel in 2014 when the server made a mistake. Willaim was accidentally served an industrial cleanser solution the server grabbed from the kitchen. The server thought it was water because it was in a water pitcher, and it was clear like water.

William Cronnon drank the toxic beverage without realizing it wasn’t water. He only took a small sip, but he immediately knew something was wrong. It was too late, Mr. Cronnon felt the liquid burning his mouth and throat. He was left with serious injuries as a result.

Severe Injuries From Industrial Cleanser

William went to the emergency room and developed severe gastrointestinal issues. His ongoing symptoms include bloating, cramping, diarrhea and reflux. Mr. Cronnon’s symptoms have persisted years after the initial incident occurred at Cracker Barrel. It is uncertain whether he will ever fully recover.

server mistakes chemical cleaner for water

Who Is At Fault

The law provides some clear guidance to determine who is responsible in this situation. Employees used a water pitcher to hold a high-strength cleanser. The pitcher of cleanser was not labeled. The server should never have grabbed a pitcher of liquid they didn’t pour themselves. Additionally, the employee using the cleanser left it in a location where it could be confused with water.

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Premises Liability Law

All of these problems could have been avoided if the restaurant had safety policies in place to prevent this kind of accident. The restaurant is also responsible for the proper safety training of all employees. Lastly, the restaurant should have foreseen the obvious hazard of using a drink pitcher for industrial-strength cleanser. For all of these reasons, the restaurant was fully responsible for what happened to William Cronnon.

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Injury Lawsuit Against Restaurant

William Cronnon sued the restaurant for the damage. He sought $150,000 to pay for his past and future medical expenses. Mr. Cronnon’s lawyer filed a claim for the $150,000, but Cracker Barrel refused to pay this amount. Mr. Cronnon and his attorney took the claim before a jury in court.

Customer Wins Lawsuit Against Restaurant

The case went to trial and William Cronnon was awarded over $9 million dollars in damages. However, due to the tort limits of Tennessee, the verdict was reduced to $4.4 million. Although William and his lawyer both stated they were pleased with the verdict, Mr. Cronnon wishes he could go back in time to make sure this incident never happened. The reality is that it never should have happened at a restaurant, let alone a nationwide restaurant chain. 

Not An Isolated Problem

William Cronnon’s incident at Cracker Barrel is not the only one of its kind. There have been other reported incidents at dining establishments that have left innocent patrons with similar ailments. Similarly, in Lancaster, PA, a Chinese buffet was sued after accidentally serving a child lye. The child in Lancaster also endured serious injuries to his throat and stomach.

Restaurant Accidentally Serves Lye

When Richard Zaragoza Sr. and his two children were dining at Star Buffet in Lancaster PA, his two young children ordered apple juice. Shortly after being served what they thought was apple juice, they learned that what they had actually been served was caustic lye, an industrial cleaner that the buffet used to clean their drains. The family filed a personal injury claim against the restaurant. The police have determined that the act was unintentional.

Restaurant Injury Lawsuits

In both situations, the mistakes were not intentional to hurt anyone. However, restaurants are responsible for having policies and procedures in place to prevent foreseeable harm. The lack of intention to cause harm does not mean the restaurants have no responsibility when negligence causes harm. The accidents in this article were avoidable with simple policy and staff training.

Personal Injury Law Firm

If you have a permanent injury as the result of restaurant negligence, you may have a valid claim. Talk to an attorney at Kane & Silverman for free. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your injury claim and legal options.

Kane & Silverman is your trusted personal injury law firm. We provide legal representation for injury claims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.