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Rat Salad
imageTodd Haley, a Dallas Cowboys assistant coach, issued a lawsuit against McDonalds on Thursday. He alleges that his wife and au pair found a dead rat in their take-away salad this June.

The story goes that, on June 5th, Christine Haley and Kathryn Kelley ordered $14 of food, including the salad. They drove home, where they both ate some of the salad before uncovering a young, dead rat (pictured right, the rat has been digitally coloured to show up as blue).

The rat was determined to be a ‘roof rat’, a breed which live in the rafters and can pass on such diseases as bubonic plague and endemic typhus. The two women say they are haunted by this knowledge and fear they may have caught a disease. Mrs Haley was breastfeeding at the time, and switched to formula milk in case she passed illness to her child. She claims this caused her mental anguish.

Since eating salad that may have touched the rat and touching the dead rodent with their forks, the women have had difficulty keeping food down and can no longer go out to eat, the lawsuit states. They are forced to prepare their food "from scratch, allowing themselves to see each ingredient placed in the dish they are cooking," the suit states…
While neither woman has tested positive for any disease, both have been in counseling for the phobia and anticipate about a year more of therapy.

Tod Haley and the two women are suing the restaurant, the franchise owner and KLB Group for a minimum of $1.7 million in physical and mental pain and anguish.

(Thanks, Charybdis.)
Categories: Animals, Food, Gross
Posted by Boo on Mon Oct 30, 2006
Comments (62)
If you're entitled to $1.7 million whenever you see something disgusting in your food, I think I'm owed this for every time I've been in a McDonalds.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  01:08 PM
I can totally relate to the mental anguish thing...I get that way after I have cleaned out my fridge...I sometimes can't eat for days.

Not only should they have sued for the problems for the women...but have found some La Leche League leader to testify of the evils of giving a child formula - and gotten punitive dmgs for the "future" effects of having given formula to the infant. smile
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  01:30 PM
I was going to ask about this and alex,please make a category for disgusting things in food.I noticed in the Guardian that one of the women fell ill.Also the fact he sued makes the story less reliable.Anyway,how could the roof rat get in the food?
Posted by J  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  02:37 PM
"They are forced to prepare their food from scratch"

The Horror!!
Posted by robert.wood  in  Hasselt, Belgium  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  04:38 PM
It's amazing how $1.7 million can give you your appetite back. Someone should do a study on the benefits of cash for curing psychological eating disorders.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  06:45 PM
In business class a couple years back I remember studying about consumers suing big corporations, and how it is almost impossible to sue McDonalds. They are sued all the time and have a very capable, well paid law team and rarely lose these lawsuits.

I'm sure most of you have heard about the elderly lady who burned herself with coffee and got something like 90 million, but that was one of the few exceptions. Evidently, the McDonalds coffee had badly burned and mutilated her genitals.
Posted by Grain  in  Bay Area, CA  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  07:22 PM
People who think they are putting the screws to big business by suing are just screwing the ordinary consumer. Because of all these law suits, the big fast food chains are forced to raise their prices to cover the increasing cost of liability insurance. So who pays? You and me. But of course if you're on the receiving end of $1.7 million, you don't give a shit about everyone else. Thanks.

Did that clumsy lady get $90 million? I thought it was more like $70,000. Maybe the story just keeps getting better as time goes by. I'll have to check that one out.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  08:30 PM
According to Wikipedia, the jury awarded that lady $2.7 million and the judge reduced it to $640,000. Both parties appealed the decision and then settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Too bad McDonalds had to take the blame for their customers stupidity. And as I said before, it's the average consumer that pays in the end.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald's_Corp
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  08:52 PM
Some of the more mnemonic amongst you may recall my posting and link from about a year and a half ago, where I offered photographic proof that George W. Bush Eats Dead Rats. Oh, you laughed at the time, you said, oh that Hairy, what a card, But now, Now, NOW you know it's true, dontcha? Admit it. Say it with me now: "George W. Bush Eats Dead Rats, and he won't share." Feels good, dunnit? Yeah... ooo- I got goose bumps (which I wouldn't want to find in a salad either)
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  09:02 PM
Oh God!!! Yuuuuckkkk
Posted by Amy  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  09:54 PM
Eating rat didn't make me sick or give me phobias. Okay, I did it just to see what it tasted like. Maybe the thought of a big payout helped them get sick and phobic. Every time I cook grey squirrel I know I'm cooking fluffy-tailed tree rat, but it's nicer than eating the burgerised bits of cow that don't get mentioned in polite conversation.
Posted by Lou  in  England  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  08:11 AM
Oops! sorry, I forgot to mention that my figure has been adjusted for inflation ;P
Posted by Grain  in  Bay Area, CA  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  01:21 PM
Captain Al, when I first heard of that McDonalds coffee thing I felt the same as you. However, I no longer feel that way.

First, there is a huge difference between a hot cup of coffee and a SCALDING hot cup of coffee. (acceptable temps for the serving of hot beverages to the general public are between 135 and 140 degrees F, the McD's coffee was found to be between 180 and 190 degrees F)

It wasn't so much a matter of whose fault it was that the coffee spilled, it's a matter of acceptable temperatures of hot beverages. This coffee was way beyond acceptable limits as proven by the extent of her burns and investigation after the incident.

The wounds this lady suffered are horrifying and much more extreme than what would happen if you spilled a cup of hot coffee on your lap.

Also, she sought to settle with Mickey D's for 20 grand, they refused hence the lawsuit.

http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm


ok ok, it's way off topic but I can never resist a chance to put in my two cents for the underdog
Posted by Chuck  in  Rhode Island  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  04:02 PM
I remember a couple of news sites at the time reporting that that particular McDonald's had received many complaints about the temperature of their coffee. Granted, the judgement was ludicrous, but the lawsuit itself was far from it. It just doesn't make as good a story if she had a legitimate complaint.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  05:12 PM
In addition to evidence that McDonald's had ignored many complaints about its coffee being too hot, the trial included evidence that McDonald's deliberately kept its coffee at that temperature so that no one could finish drinking it in time to ask for a free refill. The poor woman had to have skin grafts. That award was not excessive.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Eddy, Texas  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  06:12 PM
Why is the rat colored blue? Am I missing something here?
Posted by Ty  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  08:07 PM
I'm having trouble seeing the blue thing as a rat. It just looks like a big blue clump. Where's the head?
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  10:49 PM
Re: McDonald's

Sigh. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), coffee should be brewed between 197 and 204 degrees.

Anyone who serves coffee below 150 degrees is serving liquid garbage.

Please, in the future do your actual research instead of spouting bullshit spewed out by the claimant in this case.

The woman was a moron and didn't deserve a penny.
Posted by Joe  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  12:25 AM
Rat Salad happens to be a Black Sabbath song title.... hmmmmmm.
Posted by katey  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  12:26 AM
I think there's a vast difference between the tempreature the coffee gets brewed at, and the temperature it is subsequently HELD at prior to serving. I like my coffee hot and all, but I'd like to keep the skin inside my mouth where it is, thanks.

If you're serving crappy fast-food coffee at temperatures so high multiple people actually bother to take the time to COMPLAIN about it (pre-lawsuit!), you're just making it super-hot to disguise the crappyness.
Posted by Ponygirl  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  04:58 AM
Yeah, the MacD's coffee-cup case is a textbook example of a 'frivolous' suit that actually wasn't frivolous.

These cases where shit is found in food shouldn't really be the subject of major lawsuits but of punitive public health fines. But I guess it's natural for individuals to want to get the money themselves...

As to this specific rat - bubonc plague? Is that a big problem in Dallas these days?
Posted by outeast  in  Prague  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  06:31 AM
If I found a rat in my food, hell yeah I would sue. Sorry, but I just don't see anything wrong about that. If McDonald's didn't want to be sued, maybe they shouldn't have let a rat get into the salad.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  08:17 AM
OK, fine, sue, whatever. But what's that really worth in terms of distress etc? A couple of hundred bucks? Certainly not thousands, still less millions.
Posted by outeast  in  Prague  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  08:19 AM
Qoute from 'Joe'

Please, in the future do your actual research instead of spouting bullshit spewed out by the claimant in this case.

The woman was a moron and didn't deserve a penny.


ummm, dude, if you had bothered to do your research you would see that the data I provided was from an unbiased legal source. Matter of fact, I will provide one more link that corroborates my previous data.

http://www.bunn.com/pages/coffeebasics/cb6holding.html

So, maybe you should stop spouting "bullshit" and recklessly throwing around insults. It makes you look stupid.
Posted by Chuck  in  Rhode Island  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  08:22 AM
The rat was digitally colored blue to make it more visible in the photo. Seems a bit odd to me, but there you go.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  10:13 AM
I'm all for throwing out frivolous law suits...But if I had something in my food, I would go ballistic. The images, the feeling, the thoughts...would probably haunt me FOREVER. I saw an orange once, that had maggots in it - haven't forgotten it!! Can't get it out of my head. Granted, I didn't eat that...but if I am eating an orange...and that image comes up - no more orange for me!

I would have asked for a lot more. And P.S. preparing all food from scratch - takes a Hell of a lot of time to do. Although, if you've got an au pair - it's not like you're fighting with the kids while you're making dinner.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  11:34 AM
The suits involve a lot of money because lawyers have to get paid in order to work for you. And they like money a lot (who can blame them for liking money? I do too.)
Posted by cvirtue  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  12:46 PM
Plus, usually the plaintiffs will ask for far more money than they want to expect to get. It's kind of like haggling for a new car. You ask for a crazy high amount and then bring it down over negotiations to an agreeable amount.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  12:55 PM
I'm all for throwing out frivolous law suits...But if I had something in my food, I would go ballistic.

Exactly. I don't see how suing for finding a rat in your food and suing is "frivolous." I don't like frivolous lawsuits as much as anyone, but come on. If the lady was looking in her bag of food and tripped, then sued McDonalds because she was distracted by their food, THAT would be what I called frivolous.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  01:37 PM
Precisely. I don't even think it's that big of a deal that she "could have" been given the black plague...but the grossnessof the whole thing - ICK. I was never very queasy over stuff like this...maybe it had something to do with getting morning sickness while I was pregnant...I seem to get queasy & grossed out a lot more easily now. I can also vomit now, if I need to get out of something (like an annoying appointment or something).
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  01:43 PM
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