Such fuckups, those Mickey Dee's:
A tale of a rat and a burger
Family sues after rodent's head found in Big Mac
McDonald's denies negligence in food handling
LEGAL AFFAIRS REPORTER
It was a mixture of curiosity and discomfort as everyone assembled around the hood of the car, staring at the box containing a Big Mac.
According to witnesses, Heath Miller, an assistant manager at the McDonald's at Highway 401 and Weston Rd., opened the box and lifted the bun.
"I saw what looked to me like a mouse or rat," Richard Zeppa, a Toronto kinesiologist who unwittingly found himself in the middle of the bizarre scene, recalled in a statement read into the record for a court proceeding.
"The mouse looked like it was browned or grilled or something," added Halima Jama, who worked with Zeppa at a medical clinic on Dixon Rd.
"It kind of looked like a rodent's head," said Miller, who inspected the burger following a customer complaint. He offered his description in transcripts filed with the Superior Court of Justice.
In short order, the rodent went from a freezer to a laboratory to the centre of a $17.5 million lawsuit, which is winding its way through court nearly six years after the June 24, 1999 incident.
Few details have emerged until now. But the transcripts, filed in connection with an upcoming court hearing, flesh out some of the allegations and defences in the case, including competing theories of how the rat got in the burger.
The controversy began when Jama's younger sister, Ayan Abdi Jama, then 9, arrived at the fast-food restaurant with her mother and ordered a Big Mac.
A few bites into her lunch, the Grade 4 student says she told her mother "there was something wrong with the burger."
"The texture. Like, it didn't feel right," she would say later.
A statement of claim filed on behalf of Ayan alleges she was served a Big Mac containing the severed head of a rat, "complete with eyes, teeth, nose and whiskers."
The incident caused enduring trauma and an emotional reaction that will likely reduce Ayan's ability to pursue gainful employment, the claim alleges, adding she suffers from panic, anxiety and fear of eating in public places. Her mother, Noora Mohamad, and younger sister, Laila Jama, who are also claiming damages, have suffered as well, the claim contends.
In a statement of defence, McDonald's denies the allegations, including any claim the company was negligent or that the family was in any way injured. No trial has taken place, but several procedural issues, including the scope of the lawsuit, have worked their way up to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Last week, on the eve of a hearing before the appeal court, both sides agreed McDonald's Corp., the chain's U.S. parent, would be cut out of the case.
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