We’re almost a month into a romaine lettuce-related E. coli outbreak, and the Centers for Disease Control have continued to warn us that we should take it easy on the salad greens unless we want to see how loose our stools can get. Meanwhile, a California man has filed a lawsuit that says lettuce is capable of more than just wrecking your digestive system, it can also cause “severe injuries.”
William Anthony Packard is suing the Hilton Houston Downtown after he says he slipped and fell on lettuce leaves that servers in the hotel’s banquet area had “strewn haphazardly” on the floor. Packard wants between $200,000 and $1 million, because he says that the lettuce tossed him hard enough to severely injury his right hip, left knee, both ankles, his back, and one elbow. “The fall was so traumatic that Mr. Packard remembers seeing both his feet fly above his head in a textbook 'Banana Peel Slip,'" the Houston Chronicle quoted the court records as saying. (And lordy, we hope there are tapes of this).
The Orange County man was reportedly at the hotel for a private event that was being held for “40 extremely important guests,” a description that admittedly does some favors for Team Lettuce. The dinner’s start time was scheduled for 6:30 PM, but when that time came and went, Packard alleges that the hotel’s staff lost its collective shit, and were “increasingly frantic and falling woefully behind.” He got up from his table and decided to walk out to see why the main course had been delayed—and that’s when he slipped on those salad greens and fell on the marble floor.
Packard’s lawsuit alleges that American Liberty Hospitality, the company that manages the Hilton Houston Downtown, failed to maintain safe, vegetable-free conditions in the banquet room. He also accuses them of “negligent hiring and supervision,” because he says they did not have enough staff on hand to handle his extremely important guests and their dinner needs. (“Lettuce throw this lawsuit out of court,” one Chron commenter wrote).
Maybe Packard can compare notes with Patricia Moorer, the Florida woman who filed a lawsuit against Walmart after slipping in a puddle of ranch dressing in the store’s shoe department. Their cases seem similar enough and, if you put them together, at least they’d have enough to make a salad.