Restaurant ordered to pay customer $9.4 million after serving him bleach instead of water

A court has ordered a restaurant to pay $9.4 million to a customer after serving him a glass of bleach used for cleaning instead of iced water.

court order

Interestingly, William Cronnon will only receive $750,000 out of the whopping $9.4 million compensation due to a Tennessee law that places a cap on noneconomic damages.

Reports say he visited the Marion County branch of restaurant chain Cracker Barrel in the USA to have lunch in April of 2014 when one of the waitresses accidentally refilled his water glass with a cleaning solution called Eco-San.

The chemical was used to clean areas of the restaurant kitchen, and the employees used water pitchers to mix the commercial-grade bleach with water.

Cronnon’s lawyer, Thomas Greer is quoted as having said: “The waitress refills his glass after his meal with what she thought was water but turned out to be a mixture of water and Eco-San – a commercial-grade bleach.”

Court documents say after taking a sip, Cronnon “immediately realize(d) that it was not iced water but was some chemical that caused a burning sensation in his mouth and oesophagus”.

The risky blunder has reportedly caused Cronnon long-term digestive problems, including cramping, bloating, diarrhoea, and reflux.

About eight years after the incident, a court has made a pronouncement on the matter.

According to after only 30 minutes of deliberation, a jury awarded Cronnon compensatory damages totalling $4.3 million.

The news website added that after another ten minutes of additional deliberation, the jury awarded punitive damages of $5 million.

“The speed of the verdict, combined with an amount in excess of what we asked, speaks to just how dangerous the Cracker Barrel policy was,” Thomas Greer said after the court ruling.

Meanwhile, Cracker Barrel has disagreed with the court’s decision but expressed relief that the matter has finally been brought to a semblance of closure.

“While we have great respect for the legal process, we are obviously disappointed by and strongly disagree with the jury’s award in this case, which involved an unfortunate and isolated incident that occurred at one of our stores eight years ago.”

“Although we are considering our options with respect to this verdict, we are glad this matter is behind us so we can better focus on caring for our guests and employees around the country,” the restaurant said in a statement.


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