Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bylsma v. Burger King (9th Cir. - Jan. 11, 2012)

A lead story on Yahoo! yesterday asserted that it's largely an urban myth that restaurant workers spit in your food.

Which is why we also read the Federal Reporter.  Because today's opinion from the Ninth Circuit proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that sometimes restaurant workers do indeed spit in your food.

Especially if you're a police officer.  Not only did Officer Bylsma observe a white phlegm blob inside his Whopper, which he rightfully took to be a spitwad, but when it was tested for DNA, it matched Gary Herb, who was working at the Burger King at the time.  Busted.  Felony assault.  Ninety days in jail.

Bylsma, by the way, sued Burger King.  Wanting big money.  The Ninth Circuit certifies the case to the Washington Supreme Court.  The question is whether you can recover under a particular Washington statute -- the WPLA, which governs contaminated food -- absent a physical injury.  Does merely viewing a glob of spit, which allegedly causes emotional distress, give rise to a cause of action under the statute?

We'll find out the answer to that question in due course.  But even today, we know the definitive answer to the question:  Do people at fast food restaurants sometimes spit in your food?  Yes.  Yes they do.

"Have it your way" indeed.