Philadelphia woman settles suit with Ruby Tuesday over claim of broken glass in food

By Tabitha Fleming | Mar 13, 2017

PHILADELPHIA - A lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed she found broken glass in her food at the Ruby Tuesday restaurant in the Springfield Mall has quickly come to an end.

The case, which was previously reported on by the Pennsylvania Record, involved Ashivia Singletary of Philadelphia and was filed on Feb. 1, 2017, in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Evan Dyer, an attorney with Louis B. Himmelstein & Associates in Philadelphia, represented Singletary in the now-settled case against Ruby Tuesday.

“That case settled maybe a week ago,” Dyer told the Penn Record during a telephone interview. “It settled for an undisclosed amount.”

In the original filing, the plaintiff claimed that “as she was sitting and eating, Singletary came in contact with the aforesaid dangerous food, unclean food, broken glass, foreign object in the food, irregularity, defect and/or other dangerous condition, causing Singletary, to chew on and/or swallow and/or consume the broken glass and/or foreign object causing plaintiff to sustain serious, painful and permanent injuries which required medical treatment and care.”

The lawsuit relied on an implied warranty between restaurant patrons and establishments that exists in all states. Essentially, the law holds restaurants liable for the food they serve and any foreign or dangerous objects that may be found in that food, unless it’s expected by the patron. Diners have found foreign objects in restaurants' food in various cases, ranging from broken glass to pieces of metal, or even, in one case involving a fast food chain, human flesh.

Although the amount of the settlement won't be disclosed, the original suit requested an award in excess of $50,000 for Singletary, citing negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, breach of implied warranty and breach of express warranty. According to the original complaint, Singletary allegedly suffered significant harm including broken and cracked teeth, mouth damage and other orthopedic and psychological injuries during the incident.

Cases where individuals file suit against restaurants after finding foreign objects in their food aren’t necessarily outside the norm, but they aren’t the most common personal injury claims.  

“It’s not the most common type of case at all,” Dyer said. “We don’t get [cases like Singletary’s] that much, but under no circumstances is it the only one we’ve had.” Dyer declined to comment on the details of the settlement and whether Ruby Tuesday admitted any wrongdoing.  

“I’m not going to say one way or the other particularly about this case,” Dyer said. “I’m just going to say in general that 99.99 percent of these releases don’t have an admission of liability.”

The settlement in cases such as Singletary’s are complicated and involve many factors, according to Dyer.

“Something tells me that a lot of factors went into [Ruby Tuesday’s decision to settle], but I can’t be more specific than that,” he said.

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