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ARTICLE ID 6101

$________ Products Liability - Food Contamination - Foreign object in cheeseburger - Tooth fracture necessitating crown - Bench trial.

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

This action was brought under both strict products liability and negligence theories against the operator of a Philadelphia fast- food restaurant. The plaintiff, a female approximately 30 years of age at the time, contended that she bit into a hard object contained within a cheeseburger purchased from the defendant, cracking one of her teeth.

The plaintiff testified that she purchased a cheeseburger from the defendant’s drive-through window and parked her car in the parking lot to eat. About half way through the cheeseburger, the plaintiff bit into a hard object which she testified was embedded in the cheeseburger. The plaintiff asserted that the hard object could have been a piece of bone.

The plaintiff stated that she experienced immediate pain in the p 7 3 lower molar and sought emergency dental treatment. A crown was placed on the broken molar, according to the evidence offered.

The plaintiff then returned to the defendant’s restaurant, gave the half-eaten cheeseburger to the manager, explained what had happened and received a receipt for the burger, according to her testimony. The defendant apparently discarded the subject cheeseburger and the plaintiff asserted a spoliation of evidence argument. The plaintiff testified that the placement of the crown now requires her to carry specialty dental instruments to facilitate proper and thorough cleaning of the tooth.

The defendant’s quality control representative testified that the hamburger is processed through a grinding machine which contains holes that would not have allowed a hard object such as that described by the plaintiff to pass through. The defense denied that the object entered the meat during processing or preparation.

The case was tried before a Judge without a jury, with a finding for the plaintiff in the amount of $________.

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