Chipped Tooth from Bagel?

by Shawn
(Phoenix, AZ)

I am a manager at a bagel shop. It is a franchise which my family owns and operates. We are required to bake our products every 4 hours to maintain product quality which helps prevent issues such as stale bagels.

A middle aged (40-45) male customer claims to have bought a bagel sandwich from our location, which is at an airport. He then proceeded through security to wait for boarding. While waiting he says he bit into his sandwich and the bagel was so hard it chipped his front tooth.

The customer is demanding compensation from our business in the amount of $850. This happened on a Friday (12/9) evening and he reported it to me on the following Wednesday (12/14) afternoon.

Something odd to note is that the customer asked repeatedly if we were owned by a large corporation. His tooth may have already been fractured as well but I'm not completely certain. Should we be liable to cover his dental costs? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Chipped Tooth from Bagel?":

Shawn (Phoenix, AZ):

Although we hesitate to say this, ignoring him is probably your best bet. The likelihood of his prevailing in any legal action against you would be minimal. Proving he chipped his tooth on one of your bagel sandwiches will be almost impossible...if it even happened.

The reality is no attorney would ever take such a small and insignificant case. That leaves the bagel eater with Small Claims Court as his only recourse. Even in Small Claims Court the probability of his prevailing would be negligible.

We are not suggesting you be impolite or rude to the bagel eater. Instead, you might tell him you refuse to accept his demand. You can take a positive approach and tell him your bagels are always fresh.

They are cooked every 4 hours and the likelihood of one of your bagels being hard enough to chip his tooth is negligible. You can also tell him the likelihood of a foreign object falling into your food is negligible as well.

The worst thing which could happen is his filing of a Small Claims Court case. If he does you can either hire an attorney to defend you, or defend yourself. If there are no facts other than those you have shared with us, the bagel eater will wind up wasting the court's time as well as yours. The case should be dismissed in a split second, if that.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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