The Richmond Register

January 26, 2013

The case of the fowl sandwich

You be the judge

By Jack Strauss
Register Columnist

BEREA — Nina looked good enough to eat – and she nearly always did. A qualified candidate for All-American Snacker, eating was her favorite pastime.

However, as she was munching away on a chicken sandwich at Benny’s Beanery – all white meat is what she ordered – she suddenly became convinced that she was eating her last snack. A chicken bone lodged in her throat and she figured she was a sure goner.

Upon recovering, Nina picked a different kind of bone with Benny. She sued him for her injuries.

“It’s not my fault chickens have chicken bones,” was Benny’s defense. “That’s the way they come. Can you picture a chicken without a wishbone? It wouldn’t be a chicken.”

“When a chicken is in the barnyard,” responded Nina, “that’s one thing. But, when it’s between two slices of bread, it’s another. Since an all-white chicken sandwich should be boneless, Benny should be liable for my injuries.”

IF YOU WERE THE JUDGE, would you hold Benny responsible for serving Nina a fowl sandwich?

This is how the judge ruled: YES! The judge held that a restaurateur must exercise care to remove harmful bones from food served to a customer when the customer would not ordinarily anticipate, or guard against, the presence of bones in the food being served. In this case, concluded the judge, ordinarily there are no bones in the white meat of a chicken.

(Based upon a 1960 Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision)



Jack Strauss, a retired New York City trial attorney who now resides in Berea, wrote a syndicated column for 36 years called, “What’s the Law?” It appeared in papers coast to coast, including the Pittsburgh Press, the Los Angeles Examiner, the Hartford Times, the Kansas City Star and the Philadelphia Daily News, among many others. It appears here with his permission.

Copyright 1978, United Feature Syndicate, Inc.