Woman sues over fish bones

by John O'Brien |
Dec. 15, 2006, 2:50am

CHARLESTON - A woman has a bone to pick with Red Lobster, mostly because she says the restaurant gave her a bone to pick out of her throat.

Joe Ann Crawford filed a lawsuit Dec. 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Darden Restaurants, doing business as Red Lobster.

She says that she ordered a stuffed fillet of fish Aug. 15, 2005, at Charleston's Red Lobster and even cites Webster's Dictionary in her complaint.

"Webster's Dictionary defines 'fillet' as a piece or slice of boneless meat or fish," the complaint says.

Crawford adds that she specifically asked her waitress if the fish was boneless and was told that it was.

"After she took a few bites, she realized that she had swallowed a fish bone and that it had become lodged in her throat," the complaint says.

The lawsuit also lists a John Doe defendant, the manager at the time.

"She contacted the defendant John Doe, the manager who sheepishly admitted that they had evidently served her a fish fillet with a bone," the complaint says.

Crawford says she was only offered a free meal at her next trip to Red Lobster, not medical care or reimbursement of expenses. After attempting to dislodge the bone, Crawford says she had to go to the emergency room at Thomas Memorial Hospital.

There, doctors decided to wait a day to get it out and she had to be put under anesthesia during the procedure, the complaint adds.

Despite that, Crawford says Red Lobster wouldn't pay.

"The coldhearted employee merely replied, 'How do you or we know that it is our fish bone?'" the complaint says.

Crawford charges the defendants with negligence and negligent supervision and representations. She seeks compensatory damages in an amount no more than $74,000.

J.C. Powell of Charleston firm Powell and Majestro is representing the plaintiff.

"They callously refused to offer medical care or to offer to pay for her medical care," the complaint says.

Judge Paul Zakaib has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-2600

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