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Diner Sues After Choking on Artichoke

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on December 03, 2010 8:52 AM

Pull the artichoke leaf from the hearty steam, dip in sauce of choice, eat bottom portion of leaf, discard remaining leaf. Repeat. 

Those are the general steps to consuming an artichoke. The appetizer favorite is one that typically does not come with an instruction manual, and that is the backbone of an artichoke lawsuit out of Florida.

Arturo Caravajal, a family practice doctor, is suing Houston's restaurant for an unpleasant artichoke experience he had at the chain's North Miami Beach restaurant. Specifically, he ate the entire artichoke because he had never seen one before. Not too surprisingly, his stomach was none too happy with him. Now he is none too happy with the table servers for failing to warn him that parts of the vegetable were inedible. 

Looks can be deceiving.

"It takes a sophisticated diner to be familiar with the artichoke. People might think that as a doctor, he'd know how to eat one. But he was thinking it was like a food he might have eaten in his native Cuba, where you eat everything on the place," Carvajal's lawyer Marc Ginsberg is quoted in Miami News Times.

Caravajal's suit alleges negligence and is seeking unspecified damages for injuries that he claims has caused a, "loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life." The strength of this suit, like any other negligence suit, will depend on whether the restaurant had a duty to warn of the dangers of the artichoke. One possible defense to this case would be an assumption of risk argument based on the notion that Arturo Caravajal chose to order the vegetable and also assumed any risks inherent in its consumption.

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