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Products liability claims can include restaurant food items

Products liability lawsuits that frequently make the news concern allegations against manufacturers and sometimes sellers of items that are not consumable items. A lawsuit may allege that a defective vehicle ignition was to blame for injury-producing accidents, or that a poorly designed component item of equipment in a factory caused the death or injury of a worker there.

Less common are lawsuits that claim that the defective product was something to eat. Yet that appears to be the foundation of a Texas products liability lawsuit, from a customer at a fast food restaurant.

Specifically, the plaintiff claims that she purchased a breakfast sandwich item from a McDonald's restaurant in Pasadena, Texas, only to suffer injury when she attempted to swallow a piece of metal wire that she claims was included in the food item. Instead, the wire apparently lodged in her esophagus before eventually punching a hole in it. That injury, in turn, allegedly led to the onset of a serious and potentially life-threatening infection that required hospitalization. The plaintiff’s lawsuit is claiming as much as $1 million in damages.

Although dangerous foods can and have been the source of products liability-related legal actions, these are most commonly associated with food poisoning cases. Nevertheless, if we examine the claimed facts of this case the sandwich can be considered to be a "product" that was "manufactured" in the restaurant, and a defect in that manufacture may have made the product inherently unsafe for use by a person who was of the type of customer the product was made for and who used the product in a way in which it was intended to be used.

It is one of the roles of a personal injury law firm to be able to identify potential causes of action arising from harm that a person suffers, no matter what the source of that harm may be or the legal theory that the injury gives rise to. The lawsuit in this example is a good example of how this process of matching injury to the appropriate legal foundation can work in practice.

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