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New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers Address Restaurant Negligence Suit

March 19, 2013 | Posted In Personal Injury/Negligence - Lawsuit, Negligence |

A diner injured by shards of glass at a Red Lobster in 2009 does not need to prove negligence on the part of the waiter who dropped a plate and injured her, New Jersey personal injury attorneys report. In Clark v. Darden Restaurants Inc., 11-cv-1056, a federal judge ruled that New Jersey resident Darryl Clark had a reasonable expectation of safety while dining in the restaurant. In addition, the server who dropped the plate had a duty to avoid dropping breakable plates on a patron’s table, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

Clark was having lunch with a friend at a Red Lobster in Lawrenceville when a server, Stephen Harrison, dropped and broke a plate on their table. The plate shattered, and glass shards became lodged in Clark’s eyes. He was treated by paramedics immediately following the incident, and later underwent surgery to fix his damaged corneas. His ophthalmologist claimed that Clark’s injuries were almost certainly caused by the “glass foreign bodies related to the restaurant.”

With the help of New Jersey personal injury lawyers, Clark sued Red Lobster in federal court. He claimed that not only did Red Lobster owe him a duty of care, but also that the restaurant and the server were negligent in safety matters. Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, the plate was under the control of Harrison, a Red Lobster employee, and Clark contributed nothing to his own injuries. The federal judge agreed that the restaurant was negligent, noting that Harrison testified that the plate had felt greasy or slippery when he picked it up, and that he had rarely dropped anything else while working as a server.

New Jersey personal injury attorneys for Clark pointed to lawsuits where diners sued restaurants after injuries with hot plates or beverages. Harrison’s act of dropping the plate falls in the same category and U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson ruled that his actions constituted negligence on the restaurant’s behalf. The lawsuit is now headed for trial, as Clark and the restaurant cannot reach a settlement.

The New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA can offer help to anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of another. Contact us for a free, no-strings consultation today.

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