Planet Sushi Gets Sued Over Semen Allegedly Found in the “Special Sauce”
This story is probably the best example of “fast food gone wrong.” A girl orders some sushi, her favorite food, from Planet Sushi one night and discovers there is semen in the special sauce. I am cringing as I type this. If you were this woman, what would you do next? Most people would take the restaurant to court, and that is exactly what this young woman has done.
As a result of this incident, the woman claims to have suffered physiological and psychological injuries, including anxiety and depression. It seems that the case has gone through the discovery stage, where the young woman has been deposed. The restaurant is asking the court to dismiss this lawsuit because the evidence (semen) has been spoiled.
In general a motion to dismiss is requesting the court to dismiss the suit because there are no disputed facts. In this written motion, a lawyer is then to give some evidentiary basis as to why there is no disputed fact. Here, Planet Sushi is trying to dismiss this suit based off of the spoiled evidence i.e. the lack of the sauce sample with the bodily fluid in present possession.
The court has denied Planet Sushi’s motion, and the suit is to go on. Now, the young girl is claiming that she suffered psychological and physiological distress per Planet Sushi’s special sauce. To prove such a claim, the young lady will need to show that she suffered in some manner. As part of her suffering, she claims that she has had stomach aches, anxiety attacks, and cannot eat her favorite food anymore. It is likely that the complaint lists more specific injuries, alongside an order for a monetary amount to compensate her for her suffering.
Planet Sushi may try to get out of the suit by blaming the employee whose body fluid ended up in the special sauce, and stating that the employee is only liable and should compensate the young woman. However, the law recognizes that employers can be liable for an employee’s act if the act was done within the scope of the employment. So, if the worker whose body fluid ended up in the sauce was working at the time of the fluid transfer, carrying out his occupational responsibilities, then Planet Sushi will have to pay for the worker’s action.
A claim that is not listed here that the young woman may be able to recover from is negligence. The young woman can claim that Planet Sushi had a duty to make sure the food served was not contaminated with bodily fluid, that Planet Sushi did not carry out this duty, that Planet Sushi’s negligence to carry out this duty caused her harm, and that she suffered due to this negligence. On a negligence count, the young woman would likely be able to cover a significant monetary amount.
Is it smart for Planet Sushi to have this suit carry on? Definitely not. Planet Sushi is a chain, and they have already suffered a great deal of negative publicity. I am sure that their sales have been adversely affected. After all, who waits in line to chow down some sushi with semen on the side? Therefore, the smarter thing to do would be for Planet Sushi to settle. In other words, Planet Sushi should agree to pay the young woman a certain amount in order to settle the case, and not have it go to trial. In fact, I am surprised that they have not already initiated settlement talks.
Either way, may this story be a lesson to all. First off, do not trust any type of restaurant condiment labeled “special.” Be skeptical and inspect it! Secondly, keep all evidence in your possession. It is important and will play a vital role in litigation.