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Singer Sues McDonald's for Ruining Her Voice

By Betty Wang, JD | Last updated on

A gospel singer is suing McDonald's, after she allegedly bit into a piece of glass while eating a chicken sandwich served to her at a McDonald's in New York City.

Jacqueline Simpson is now claiming that her voice is ruined. She complains that she can't sing soprano like she used to, and that her voice has been rendered hoarse and rattly, which it didn't used to be. "I have to make a lot of calls for work, and I have to tell people that I'm not a man," Simpson told the New York Post.

McDonald's is no stranger to lawsuits. So how might this one fare?

Strict Product Liability...

Food-related injuries, like the one claimed by the singer who's suing McDonald's, are usually evaluated under the category of a product liability claim. There are several different kinds of product liability theories, but strict liability is the most common one.

Usually, product liability requires that the injured person prove a chain of factors: First, that the restaurant is responsible for the defective product; and second, a determination of what kind of defect that is.

Strict liability, however, doesn't require Simpson to prove that McDonald's was actually negligent. Instead, she'd just have to show that if anyone were to be held responsible, it would be McDonald's.

Under the strict liability theory, this is because Mickey D's a business that sells chicken sandwiches regularly; they should be held responsible if any product (or sandwich) leaving their facilities is defective. A piece of glass -- the size of a penny, according to Simpson's claim -- would certainly be construed as defective.

...Or Frivolous?

However, many crucial details are not known. Why did Simpson wait three years to sue? (In New York, product liability suits must be filed within three years of injury.) Did she actually swallow the glass, or just bite into it? The claim may need to be looked at more in depth to ensure that it isn't actually a frivolous lawsuit.

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