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Bobby Flay Sued for $5M in Restaurant Fall

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on September 13, 2011 6:50 AM

An elderly woman from Chevy Chase, Maryland, has sued celebrity chef Bobby Flay, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Monday that seeks $5 million in compensation for a tumble she took at his southwestern-inspired Mesa Grill.

Barbara Sandler, 77, the woman behind the Bobby Flay lawsuit, claims to have fallen down a short flight of stairs leading to an elevated dining area near the front of the restaurant, causing bleeding in the brain, permanent left brain damage, and a two-month stint in the hospital.

It's unclear what caused Sandler to fall at Flay's Mesa Grill, though one would suspect that her lawyer would not have filed the suit without finding some possible negligence on the part of the restaurant.

Under negligence law, restaurant owners must do the following:

  • Make the premises reasonably safe
  • Inspect the premises for unknown dangers
  • Make repairs
  • If repairs cannot be made, warn visitors

To keep the premises safe, restaurants must generally implement procedures designed to keep aisles clear and the floors free from debris such that patrons do not slip and fall.

They must also inspect the premises--including stairs, rails, and carpeting--on a reasonable schedule.

Barring any involvement on the part of an employee, if Sandler cannot show that these procedures were not followed, or that her fall was directly linked to management's failure to keep the premises safe, then her Bobby Flay lawsuit is likely to fail. She cannot sue simply because she tripped over her own feet.

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