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Mar 28, 2011 07:18 PM

would you sue for this?

A bunch of us ladies went out for our occasional, fairly regular Turkish dinner and when we asked for our plate of olives they told us they had had to stop serving olives because a customer had broken a tooth and was suing for $60,000.

We were flabbergasted that somebody would sue for something as obvious as a pit in an olive. Should the restaurant have warned the customer that there were pits, or is the onus on the customer?

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  1. The customer "may" be suing for $60,000, but my limited knowledge of the law and food tells me they won't be successful in the suit because a pit in an olive can be an assumed risk.

    1. Wow, that's some expensive dental work. And my answer would be no, unless that is an olive with fancy footwork which makes it capable of jumping off the plate and pummeling me.

      1. No doubt they had $600 in dental work, and are also asking for pain and suffering, lost wages, and possibly punitive damages, although that would be hilarious.

        Skipping past the assumption of the risk issue, which I don't think applies (think about it, you don't generally assume the risk for breaking your teeth when you eat at a restaurant - what if there was a bone?), the issue will be whether a reasonable person would expect there to be a pit in an olive when it was perfectly obvious upon inspection ( and obvious??? hehehe) that the olives were not pitted.

        Hell, I'd take it to a jury, depending on where it was at - do a mental tabulation of everyone you know and tell me how the answer to this question would vary, i.e. whether any of them have eaten olives that didn't come out of a jar. It's basically like suing whole foods for a defective product because the olives you bought off the bar didn't have the "red stuff" in the middle. Everyone knows they come that way!!!!

        On the other hand, I know someone who (successfully) sued cheez whiz because it burned them when they pulled it out of the microwave. What is the warning label supposed to say? "Danger: product will be hot when heated"?

        1. No I would not sue for this. It would not occur to me to sue for this.

          A couple of years ago, a similar thing happened to my wife in a restaurant (in Charleston, SC) - broke a tooth on something hard in the food. We mentioned it to the server who apologised - which was all we would reasonably expect.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Harters

            ah, but Harters, you don't live in Litigiousville, U.S.A.

            1. re: mariacarmen

              True - although a family member did seriously threaten to sue us because she gashed her leg on our garden wall. I told her to "go away" (although I didnt use the words "go away")

              1. re: Harters

                see, here, that wouldn't have shooed her away sufficiently. the suit would have been filed before her wound could scab over. I remember in Venice once, the waters had risen and every store owner waded about blithely in their galoshes, and the powers that be had set up a rather flimsy low bridge-like scaffolding so that people could walk over the biggest pools of collected water. i remember seeing a woman, a tourist, having to jump off one of the scaffoldings and almost falling, and thought, "there is NOW WAY IN HELL that would fly in the States." There, it was," we made you this bridge so you can try to avoid getting wet, now be careful because you're responsible for taking care of yourself!"

                1. re: Harters

                  What do people expect when they climb over the wall to crash a garden party they weren't invited to? At the least won't be invited again. I have a a bit of land with rockeries and stone steps and lots of uneven ground. While I can easily see someone getting a bit tipsy and turning an ankle or even, god forbid, break a bone, I can't for the life of me imagine any family member or friend for that matter suing me for hurting themselves.

                  Go Away! indeed.


            2. It wouldn't even occur to me to sue for something like this. Maybe if the pit was somewhere you wouldn't expect it to be, like in the mashed potatoes or something. Even then, I'm way too lazy to go through all the trouble of getting my tooth fixed AND suing, lol.

              It's long ago ceased to amaze me the kinds of things people will sue for, but it's still disheartening. Some things are necessary and worth it, but probably most are not. Can't people just chalk some things up to life being complicated? Since when does there have to be someone to take responsibility for every single thing that goes wrong in one's life? And why can't people just work for their money instead of always looking for handouts? Ugh.

              9 Replies
              1. re: MichelleRenee

                Sush! Don't you know how many unemployed lawyers there are! ;-) Suing a restaurant to take good food off the menu should make us all sad. Especially...olives with a pit? Seriously? Should I sue for head on shrimp? Screw that, tail on shrimp? It's crunchy, I broke a tooth on it!

                1. re: MichelleRenee

                  If injury can be prevented by the bakery, it should be. Selling bread with olive pits inside it is not expected by the normal consumer like me.

                  1. re: santamonican1

                    Normal consumers understand that olives have pits and that any product made with olives may contain pits.

                    1. re: santamonican1

                      Don't go to any European Country.......

                        1. re: santamonican1

                          because olives have pits. Pitted olives are for children, and even then mothers tend to pull them off and check them, because *there might be pits*

                          Even when you get black olives on a pizza, they'll have pits -- they don't even try to pit them.

                          You're supposed to know that olives have pits and to not try to chomp them down like popcorn.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Thank you for the heads up. I never examined the olives on my pizza before, but I certainly will from now on.

                            1. re: santamonican1

                              in the US, they'll have been through a pitting machine, but no, there's no guarantee that you'll never find a pit.