With a fact pattern straight from a torts textbook, a Texas woman has sued Chick-Fil-A and its cherry supplier, Dell’s Maraschino Cherries Co., Inc. after the cherry on her milkshake allegedly caused her to have a heart attack. According to a report from the New York Daily News, Cyndi Scruggs purchased a milkshake topped with whip cream and a maraschino cherry from a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Plano, Texas. She bit into the cherry and discovered that it allegedly “had not been properly de-pitted.” The improperly de-pitted cherry caused her to fracture two teeth below the gum line. To make matters worse, Scruggs developed a gum infection and sepsis which allegedly caused her heart attack. She is seeking between $200,000 and $1 million in damages.
This is case is certainly a test in foreseeability and proximate causation. Assuming that Scruggs did bite into a faulty cherry and that her damages allegations are valid, it seems very tenuous on the surface that a cherry could lead to a heart attack. Nonetheless, if Scruggs can prove an unbroken chain between the cherry and the attack then she may be able to recover, as crazy as it may be.
Damages aside, we here at Abnormal Use have to question why anyone would eat the milkshake cherry in the first place. We always thought the cherry was more visually appealing than edible. In our opinion, cherries are a Jolly Rancher flavored and should never actually be consumed. Of course, there is no prohibition on the consumption of such things. But shouldn’t we assume the risk of injury for biting into something that has no valid purpose on the milkshake in the first place?