urine; coffee; co-worker; fight; court battle

Watch what is in your coffee?

Does the Coffee Tastes Funny? Urine for a Surprise

Many people love to start their day with a nice cup of coffee. They need to have that caffeine to get the blood flowing into their brain working. When most people come to work and head over to the coffee pot, they just assume that the coffee inside is going to be drinkable. The last thing they assume is that something is going to be wrong with the coffee. In fact, the very last thing they will assume is that the coffee will have urine in it.

What’s In the Coffee?

However, in 2009, in Culpeper County, VA a man named James Carroll Butler decided that he was going to add urine to the coffee of his coworker Michael Utz. Butler, along with a coworker, worked for the wastewater plant, of all places. His coworker, the victim in this crime, was a mechanic who worked in the environmental services department.

Because Butler did not like Utz for one reason or another, he wanted to do something to him. So, he collected urine from the toilet and poured into his coworker’s coffee pot. He believed that his Utz would drink the urine. However, Utz was fortunate enough to notice that the pot was filled with urine instead of water before he made coffee. In addition to the yellow appearance, he also noticed the unpleasant scent.

Naturally, he decided to talk with his supervisor about what happened and what he suspected. The supervisor had the coffee pot tested. The results found that it contained not only urine, but also some fecal matter.

It was not long before Butler was found to be the party responsible for the urine fiasco. According to the Daily Progress, the letter was delivered to the court by Butler. Part of the letter stated: “I done something I am very much ashamed of to a coworker for [reasons, which are] stress-related [and] things going on in my life on and off the job. I am very much ashamed of my stupid and childlike behavior.”

He was found guilty and spent a month in jail and served a year on probation. Utz also decided that he would sue for damages. He sued for $728,000 in damages, but he didn’t get anywhere near as much as he had hoped. In fact, the jury only awarded him one dollar in compensatory damages. They also offered him $5000 in punitive damages.

Why was he offered only $5,000 in punitive damages? The likely reason is the fact that he didn’t drink any of the urine. He was reportedly happy with the verdict, though it was only for $5,000.

Stories such as this always get quite a bit of attention just because they seem so bizarre. They also happen a lot more often than many people realize. It might be a good idea to always take a couple of extra seconds to make sure the coffee you’re drinking or the food you’re eating at work is really what you believe it to be!