weird lawsuits; wacky wednesday; finger in food; suing for bad food; suing restaurants

Do you prefer your chili chunky?

Sir, There’s a Finger in My Chili

Fast food is part of American life. We go there for lunch, a late snack, and whenever we are craving something that might not be too good for us. However, imagine sitting down with your favorite treat only to bite into a human body part instead. It sounds like something from a horror movie, something that couldn’t possibly really happen. Yet, for a short time, much of the country thought that it did happen. Let’s take a trip back to 2005 and look at the case of Anna Ayala and her Wendy’s chili. It gets weirder than you think.

What They Said Happened

Anna Ayala was sitting down to enjoy a nice cup of Wendy’s chili in San Jose, CA. When she took a bite of her chili, she claims that she chomped down on a finger, which turned out to be 1.5” long and entirely true. There was a finger in her chili. Now, when someone has a body part in the food that they are eating, you can be sure that the lawsuit that follows is going to be massive. It surely would have been if not for the fact that the story just seemed too outlandish to be true. The only thing to do was to perform a full investigation.

They tested the offending finger in the lab and found that there were no traces of saliva on it, which meant that Ayala had not taken a bite of it as she had claimed. They also found that the finger did not have any of the characteristics suspected of being cooked in chili for several hours. This meant that someone must have lost or planted the finger in the chili after it was finished cooking. Since no one at the restaurant was complaining of a missing digit, the authorities started to investigate the family. This is where the weird part really starts.

What Really Happened

Anna’s husband actually bought the severed finger from one of his coworkers for $100. The man had lost it in an on the job accident. Anna and her husband not only bought the finger from the man, but also offered him $250,000 after they won their lawsuit, which they were sure would happen. Of course, they never figured that anyone would do the investigating – very basic investigating at that – to foil their plan.

The Legal Consequences

The tables quickly turned, and she and her husband plead guilty to conspiracy to file a false insurance claim, as well as attempted grand theft with damage of more than $2.5 million. The courts were not lenient on this couple. Anna received nine years in prison and her husband received twelve.

Have there ever been any strange cases where there have been body parts in food? Sure, it can happen, but things like that are exceedingly rare. Whenever cases sounding too outlandish to be true come up in the courts, it’s always a good idea to look for the simplest explanation to find out what actually happened.

Wacky Wednesdays are brought to you by Kahane Law Office in Calgary Alberta. Kahane Law Office is an award winning full service law firm.