Diner Sues Restaurant for Not Teaching How to Eat Artichoke

By Laura Strachan, Esq. on December 02, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Suits against restaurants happen all the time. Usually the offending meal gets someone really ill, or worse. Lawsuits on the proper way to eat food are less common. Never say never when it comes to FindLaw's Legally Weird, though.

A Miami doctor is suing the restaurant that served him an artichoke for failure to warn how to properly eat the vegetable. Arturo Carvajal filed suit against a restaurant group on a theory of negligence for failing to train table servers about the "proper method for consuming an artichoke."

Carvajal is seeking nonspecified damages for bodily injury, pain and suffering, disfigurement and aggravation of a pre-existing injury stemming from his unpleasant dinning experience. An exploratory laparotomy revealed the inedible artichoke leaves lodged within his bowel. Lesson learned.

Having never encountered the offending vegetable, and lacking a user manual, Carvajal proceeded to eat the artichoke. The entire artichoke. Shortly thereafter he began "experiencing severe abdominal pain and discomfort," reports City Pages. No report as to whether Cravajal's dinning companions had ever encountered an artichoke or they simply enjoyed watching him gnaw away at the tough leaves.

Although humorous, Arturo Carvajal may actually have a case with his artichoke lawsuit.

Quite simply, if there is a legal responsibility to warn a consumer of hot coffee, then there may be a legal responsibility to warn about which parts of a plant are, in fact, edible. Food items needing explanations are virtually endless. Where to draw the legal line on required warnings, as opposed to consumer responsibility, remains murky.

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