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She Says Chili Spice Was a Mouth-ful

Nov 15, 1995 | Newsday (New York) If you like to eat in fast-food restaurants, don't read this story.

A 22-year-old Queens woman filed a $ 50-million lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens yesterday claiming she choked on the head of a mouse that was in a bowl of chili she ate at a Wendy's restaurant in Jamaica.

Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch said by phone from company headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, that the firm believes the claim is "without merit."

Tamara Tindall, of Jamaica, ordered the chili, french fries and a soda at the Wendy's at 155th Street and Jamaica Avenue on Thursday, said her attorney, Jerrold Parker of Great Neck. While eating, she choked and when the object in her throat became dislodged, it turned out to be the head of a mouse, he said. During the incident Tindall fell backward in her chair injuring her head, her lawyer said.

According to Parker, the manager of the eatery then told Tindall it was only a piece of chicken. "Since when does a piece of chicken have eyes and ears and a nose like that?" Tindall's boyfriend, 22-year-old Larry Crawford, responded, Parker said. The manager then tried to take the mouse head, but the Emergency Medical Service arrived and took Tindall and the rodent part to Mary Immaculate Hospital, Parker said. She was treated and released, and the mouse head was placed in formaldehyde at the hospital and is now in Tindall's possession.

Lynch said the chili remaining in the kettle was tested by an independent laboratory and contained nothing unusual. The laboratory was not identified.

"If there was any foreign object in that chili, it would have left a trace," said Lynch. "We're very confident the chili served the customer was safe and wholesome."

The restaurant was last inspected by the city Health Department Oct. 31. "We didn't find anything that would indicate a problem with pests," said Health Department spokesman Fred Winters.

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