Applebee’s Accused of Giving Margarita To Toddler in a Sippy Cup

Applebee’s is looking at a serious tort action if the Dill-Reese family is sensible. They had to take their 15-month boy to the hospital after someone at Applebee’s allegedly filled his sippy cup with alcohol. The toddler had a blood alcohol level of .10 and has recovered.

Strict liability has long been applied to food as a product. When you combine the alcohol poisoning of a toddler, the chain is looking at a very bad case for a jury. In such cases it is common for the business to look for a rogue employee defense.

In this case, the drink contained an alcoholic margarita mix. Notably, no one at the table ordered an alcoholic drink.

In this case, the food product was not defective so the store could argue that this should be treated as negligence. However, if one looks at the dish or drink as the product, it was defective as milk. Moreover, the family could pursue a type of battery claim as a harmful unconsented to touching — but there is a lack of intent if this were an act of negligence. To the extent that this was an intentional act, the store could argue that a rogue employee cuts off proximate causation. Even if such a defense can negate the respondeat superior claim, there would remain possible negligence in hiring or supervision.

There can also be the possibility for criminal charges in the case depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Source: MSNBC

14 thoughts on “Applebee’s Accused of Giving Margarita To Toddler in a Sippy Cup”

  1. BIL,

    “Olive Garden Serves Toddler Sangria”

    It was the fruit that confused the server …

  2. Thanks for posting that, Buddha.

    (I just got a WordPress message: “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.” 🙂 )

  3. Restaurants will be issuing warnings to parents:

    Sip first before serving young’ins…

  4. I don’t know about this. It sounds awfully suspicious. Remember a few years back, a woman claimed to have found a finger in her chili she got from Wendy’s? After an extensive investigation, it was found that she was actually the culprit. She did it so she could sue Wendy’s and make some money. I think I’ll follow this story and see the what the investigations turn up.

  5. Anon,

    Thompson v. Connick ?? I think that would only work if the toddler had been force to sign a fake confession to throwing his broccali under the table, after being deliberately drugged up by the D.A.. I may have missed something but I think your joke is thwe first mention of that case on this blog.

  6. Gyges,

    “giving a co-worker a drink just gets you “disciplined.””

    A spanking?

  7. Stamford,

    If Apple-bee’s policies are the same as they were when I worked there a few years ago:

    Give a under-aged anybody a drink is an automatic firing, giving a co-worker a drink just gets you “disciplined.”

  8. Wow! Whomever is responsible for this should be dealt with severely. If Applebees is responsible, they should get their check book out now and avoid a trial at all costs.

  9. Thompson v Connick is the defense to any liability….just saying….

  10. Gyges
    1, April 11, 2011 at 11:55 am
    Might I suggest that cup was intended for someone in the staff?


    That makes a lot of sense and fits the situation perfectly.

  11. An act like this appears intentional rather than accidental as anyone pouring an alcoholic beverage should be conscious of the container. My first thought is that the toddler had been loud and noisy and someone decided to “spike his punch” as a solution. Of course, that would be idiot and criminal behavior, but that wouldn’t be shocking when lined up against all of the other craziness we read about.

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