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TGI Fridays' Mistletoe Drone Cuts Photographer's Nose

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By William Peacock, Esq. on December 09, 2014 8:49 AM

Put this on the long list of ridiculously stupid promotions that some lawyer somewhere should have reviewed before it actually happened.

A TGI Fridays in Sheepshead Bay, New York, devised a brilliant plan to get into the holiday spirit: mistletoe drones! Little hovering aircraft stalk patrons and pressure them into kissing in public. Unsurprisingly, the brilliant stunt went horribly wrong when one of the drones got caught in a news photographer's hair, causing the rotor to swing around and clip her nose and chin.

Unsurprisingly, the bloody picture is making the rounds on the Internet.

How Many Ways Can This Go Wrong?

Lawyers are cynical and always looking at the "what could go wrong" in a scenario. This is why we are handy in the planning stage, as well as the "oh crap, we cut off part of a lady's nose" stage.

Here are just a few ways in which using a drone indoors could go horribly wrong:

  1. It can irritate the FAA.
  2. It can crash into a photographer's nose and chin.
  3. It can take out someone's eye.
  4. It can lead to the commission of negligent infliction of emotional distress via hovering mistletoe.
  5. It can injure a child's finger.
  6. It can spill sizzling mozzarella sticks and marinara on a baby's face.

Injured Nose It Is

Obviously, some of those are more likely than others, but the second one actually happened. Georgine Benvenuto, a photographer for the Courier Daily, was hit in the nose and chin with one of the drone's uncovered blades.

"It literally chipped off a tip of my nose," said Benvenuto, "It took off part of my nose and cut me here, right under my chin."

"Thank God it didn't go anywhere under my eye -- that is my livelihood." (We'd bet TGI Fridays' lawyers are saying the same thing.)

The best part: Despite the bloody mishap, the restaurant chain is pressing forward with its indoor drone plans. A spokesperson for the restaurant said that prior drone events in Long Island and Texas were casualty-free and seemed unconcerned by possible mishaps with the larger drone with six 5-inch uncovered propellers.

The part that will cause in-house counselors the most pain? This quote:

"If people get hurt, they're going to come regardless. People get hurt in airplanes, they still fly," drone operator David Quiones told the Courier. "There is a risk involved -- anything flying, there is risk."

Let's Play the Deepest Pockets Game!

Obviously, an injured patron would sue TGI Fridays, right? And TGI Fridays would probably sue the drone operator, assuming he was independently contracted out. But let's be honest: TGI Fridays has bigger pockets and far more to lose here. Mistletoe drones are a cute idea, but did anybody run this by the lawyers yet?

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