Jury Duty

Jeromy Jackson of Morgantown, West Virginia, is suing McDonalds for $10,000,000.

Here’s the short version: On their way home to watch a movie, Jeromy, his mother Trela and friend Andrew Ellifritz stopped at a McDonalds drive-thru for a quick bite to eat. When ordering their meals through the drive-thru speaker, Jeromy allegedly informed the order-taker that he DID NOT want cheese on his burgers because he is allergic to cheese. According to his lawyer, Jeromy also told at least two other workers “face to face” that he couldn’t have cheese because of allergies.

Assuming he had done enough to protect his own life, Jeromy and company drove home, entered a darkened room where they planned to watch a movie, and without inspection tore into the meal.

Almost immediately Jeromy started to have allergic reactions because there was, in fact, cheese on his burgers. He was rushed to the hospital and “was only moments from death or serious injury by the time he reached the hospital.”

Jeromy’s lawyer, Timothy Houston, said, “By my count, he took at least five independent steps to make sure that thing had no cheese on it. And it did [have cheese] and almost cost him his life.” Therefore, the trio, deserve $10,000,000: Jeromy for almost dying and the other two for risking their lives rushing him to the hospital.

If I’m on the jury, I’m probably getting dismissed at this point, because I would likely start muttering to myself or out loud: “Maybe he took at least five independent steps to make sure that thing had no cheese on it, but what about the sixth and MOST IMPORTANT step?” Why didn’t he look at the thing just to make sure it didn’t have cheese?

Doesn’t it make more sense that if he is deathly allergic to cheese that he would inspect his sandwich BEFORE eating it? And if he didn’t, wouldn’t that be reckless behavior?

At some point, personal responsibility has to kick in. If McDonalds had advertised “hypo-allergenic hamburgers” and then hid the cheese in the burger, that would be one thing. But that isn’t what is being alleged. That McDonalds mistakenly gave the man a cheeseburger is what is being alleged.

McDonalds pushes out lots of burgers everyday (many of them cheeseburgers); and the chance that a cheeseburger may be put into the wrong wrapper or the wrong bag is, it seems to me, fairly high. For a deathly allergic person to eat at McDonalds seems risky to me, but for that same person to not check his food before eating is without question, highly risky behavior.

According to Jeromy’s lawyer, McDonalds offered to pay half, then all of Jeromy’s $700 medical expenses, but the trio was not interested in that offer and McDonalds wasn’t offering anything more than the medical expenses. That being the case, apparently the only resolution is $10,000,000. If I’m on the jury, Jeromy would regret the decision to reject McDonalds’ initial offer.

However, my prediction is that one of two things will happen: First and most likely, due to the high cost of defending themselves in a trial, McDonalds will settle out of court for a million or so. We probably will not find out due to secrecy agreements. Or, the jury will award a ridiculous amount to the plaintiff rewarding him for his reckless behavior. This seems to be the pattern of juries these days.

To read the whole story (without my commentary) see here.

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