Friday, January 20, 2012
The tort of infliction of emotional distress is a common subject of Legal Writing projects. Here’s a new related case. The issue: “Does the Washington Product Liability Act permit relief for the emotional distress damages, in the absence of physical injury, caused to the direct purchaser by being served and touching, but not consuming, a contaminated food product?”
In the abstract, the issue sounds like a typical one. But the facts are attention-getting. Gross Alert: The following facts are a bit gross:
Edward J. Bylsma—a sheriff's deputy—ordered a Whopper with cheese from a Burger King drive-thru. An “uneasy feeling” prompted him to lift the top bun before eating the burger, and he observed a “slimy, clear and white phlegm glob” on the meat patty, the Ninth Circuit said. DNA testing revealed the glob to be the employee's saliva.
The victim sued Burger King. The culprit went to jail for 90 days. The case is taking place in federal court, and the Ninth Circuit has certified the issue to the Washington Supreme Court. Here is a link to the story on U.S. Law Week online. Here is the Ninth Circuit’s opinion.