CHARLESTON - A Wyoming County family found an unexpected item in a glass of iced tea during a 2006 Mother's Day dinner at an area Shoney's restaurant.
James Bledsoe, who was at the Logan Shoney's location with his wife, two children, and several members of his wife's family, claims he found a condom in the bottom of a glass of iced tea he was drinking.
Bledsoe and his wife, Selena, filed a personal injury lawsuit against Shoney's, the restaurant's managers and a server, on May 10 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
According to the lawsuit, Bledsoe asked for a refill towards the end of his meal. His server, Amber, returned a full glass of what appeared to be his beverage.
"After consuming approximately half of his glass of tea, he and his wife noticed something strange in the bottom of the glass," the suit says. "Mr. Bledsoe then took his straw, moved the ice around and discovered, to his and his family's shock, disgust and horror, a condom in the bottom of his glass of ice tea."
The suit says Bledsoe immediately became ill, and went to the restroom to vomit. According to the suit, his wife, children and in-laws were in shock, and customers around his table immediately left the restaurant.
According to the suit, Bledsoe returned to his table and saw one of the assistant managers, Jeremy, laughing over the incident with the server and the bus boys. At that time, the manager took his glass, with the condom, to the back of the restaurant.
The manager also informed Bledsoe she would "comp" his meal, but he still had to pay for the other nine meals. He left without paying for any of the meals.
Bledsoe went to the emergency room at Logan Regional Medical Center, where he was informed that they were uncertain if he would contract any communicable disease as a result of the incident. He was informed he may require testing over a long period of time.
"Bledsoe was greatly concerned about his own exposure to life threatening diseases, such as hepatitis or HIV, and was also worried that he may pass along some disease to the other members of his immediate family," the suit says.
Bledsoe was also told the cup and condom would be needed, so that it would be tested in the lab. When Bledsoe called Shoney's he was told the items would be preserved, but he was informed several days later that the condom had been thrown away.
The suit says the condom in the beverage was a violation of the 2003 Federal Food Code and West Virginia Pure Food and Drug Act.
Bledsoe also claims in the eight-count suit that he suffered great embarrassment.
"Bledsoe has been embarrassed and humiliated and as will happen in a small town area like Gilbert, W.Va., word has gotten around that Mr. Bledsoe found a condom in his drink at Shoney's," the suit says.
James Bledsoe will also have to be tested two or three times a year for the next seven years.
The Bledsoes, through attorney Stephen P. New, seek full compensation for their damages, as well as punitive damages.
The case has been assigned to Judge Tod Kaufman.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-919