McDonald's patron Klaus Geier is suing the fast food giant after an incident in which his OJ allegedly came with an unexpected surprise -- a plastic spear which lodged itself in his throat.
According to TMZ, when Geier tried to extract the foreign object from his mouth, a serrated spear deployed and fired itself into his esophagus. This may sound like a bad horror movie, but to Geier the nightmare is real. After finally wrenching the spear and its casing from his throat, Geier asserts he suffered severe throat injury.
Could this OJ suit be the next McDonald's hot coffee case?
Alleged Foreign Objects in Food
The spear in question, which looks to be somewhere between a drywall screw and a body-horror movie prop, is alleged by Geier to be a part of the OJ machine. Orange juice isn't typically served with pieces of drink dispensing machinery floating in it, and Geier may join the long line of people who sue for foreign objects in their food and drink.
Gordon Ramsay's New York restaurant was sued in January over a burger with a sharp shard of "ceramic or other material" that sliced an aspiring chef's tongue. And recently in Utah, a 67-year-old woman was burned from the inside by iced tea accidentally served to her with caustic lye instead of sugar. In these cases and in Geier's, the restaurant that served the injurious order can be held liable for the injury caused by the foreign substance in the food or drink.
For Geier, he would likely claim that McDonald's was negligent for allowing a portion of the OJ machine to be served with his OJ. Unlike seeds or pulp, orange juice doesn't typically contain sharp plastic implements, so McDonald's will likely be presumed negligent. He may also argue that Mickey D's violated its implied warranty to only serve food and drink which is safe for human consumption -- which doesn't include serrated plastic spears.
Geier May Be SOL
One potentially crucial fact that's not mentioned in TMZ's report: When did Geier file his lawsuit?
The Statute of Limitations (SOL) may bar Geier from suing McDonald's since his injury occurred more than two years ago. In California, personal injury claims typically must be filed within two years of learning of the injury.
A judge may choose to toll the statute of limitations for equitable reasons, but otherwise, if Geier is deemed to have missed the cutoff, then he may have difficulty getting compensation.