$50M SUIT VS. WENDY'SNov 15, 1995 | Daily News (New York)
Jamaica resident Tamara Tindall, a 22-year-old Queens College student, said she passed out and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital after the Nov. 7 incident at a Wendy's restaurant in Jamaica.
"I knew I was eating something nasty, because I felt something hairy. . . . I knew it was a dead animal I was chewing on," said Tindall, weeping.
She has been suffering emotional as well as physical pain since, she said.
Jerrold Parker, an attorney representing her, accused franchise owners Richard and David Jacobs of negligence, carelessness, recklessness and gross negligence in serving allegedly contaminated food to Tindall.
"This case is going to be the mouse that roars," Parker said, adding the lawsuit filed in Queens Supreme Court will bring attention to unsanitary and negligent practices throughout the fast-food industry.
The events that led to the lawsuit began on Nov. 7 when Tindall, her 3-year-old son, Taequan, and her boyfriend, Larry Crawford, went to lunch about 1 p.m. at the Wendy's at Parsons Blvd. and Jamaica Ave.
"We were eating and she started choking," said Crawford. "When she spit it out, I saw it was a mouse's head covered with chili. I wiped it off with a napkin and I saw the whiskers and the eyes."
Crawford said the restaurant manager tried to take the rodent from him, claiming it was just a "piece of chicken." But he held on to it and had hospital personnel put it in a medical container.
While Tindall received medical attention at nearby Mary Immaculate Hospital, Wendy's employes "turned the place upside down" looking for evidence of rodent activity, said Jeff Choe, district manager for the restaurant chain.
"We couldn't identify the thing. It was an unidentified object," Choe said of the item Tindall and Crawford produced when they complained to the restaurant.
Choe said the restaurant's staff prepares the secret chili recipe on premises, and stressed they found no evidence of rodent activity. He said the Health Department had inspected the premises less than a week earlier and found everything in order.
Tindall says the incident left her with a bad taste in her mouth, and complains she has nightmares and no appetite.