Thursday, January 2, 2020

Res Ipsa Loquitur Doctrine Could Be Applied Regarding Foreign Object in Food

In the case of Watkins v. Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd., No. 3:2016-CV-02049 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 6, 2019 Mariani, J.), the court denied a motion for summary judgment filed by the defense in a case in which the Plaintiff alleges that he sustained fractured teeth and a cut tongue as a result of biting into a hot dog that contained a sharp metal blade.

Of note is that the court ruled that the doctrine of Res ipsa loquitur properly applies to a case involving the alleged presence of a metal knife blade in a hotdog.

The court noted that the Plaintiff testified that he did not do anything that could have introduced the blade into the hot dog. The court found that this adequately excluded other factors and allowed the doctrine Res ipsa loquitor to be applied.

Judge Mariani additionally ruled that the Defendant’s evidence that the Defendant did not use this type of blade in their production of hot dogs served to challenge the Plaintiff’s credibility and was an issue for the jury to decide, as opposed to be grounds for the entry of summary judgment.

On another unrelated issue in this case, the court ruled that, where the Plaintiff sought no discovery in this case, the Plaintiff could not seek discovery sanctions to bar Defendant’s witnesses for non-disclosure of information during the course of discovery.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this case may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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