Cracker Barrel must pay a man $9.4 million in damages after he was served a glass filled with chemicals instead of the water he ordered.
According to reports from CNN, the incident in question happened back in 2014 to a man named William Cronnon.
While Cronnon was having lunch at a Marion County Cracker Barrel, he drank from a cup filled with what he believed to be water. After taking a sip, he “immediately [realized] that it was not ice water but was some chemical that caused a burning sensation in his mouth or esophagus,” court documents read. The chemical in question was later revealed to be Eco-San, a corrosive kitchen cleaning agent that allegedly caused permanent internal injury to Cronnon.
His attorney, Thomas Greer, claimed that he is still suffering from symptoms in both his mouth and esophagus as a result of the accident, which has since brought on many medical expenses.
“The jury returned a verdict for compensatory damages of $4.3 million in just 30 minutes – one of the fastest verdicts we have ever seen – and awarded punitive damages of $5 million after only 10 minutes of additional deliberation,” Greer told CNN.
Unfortunately for Cronnon, according to a Tennessee law that places a cap on economic damages, the man will only receive a fraction of what he’s owed.
The original lawsuit asked the restaurant chain to pay $150,000 in damages, but the jury instead awarded him $3.6 million in non-economic damages and $730,000 in economic damages. Greer told local outlet WTVC that because of what he calls “an unfair law,” Cronnon will only walk away with $750,000.
Following the verdict, Cracker Barrel told CNN that the company was “disappointed” in the verdict.
“While we have great respect for the legal process, we are obviously disappointed by and strongly disagree with the jury’s award in this case, which involved an unfortunate and isolated incident that occurred at one of our stores eight years ago,” the company said in a statement. “Although we are considering our options with respect to this verdict, we are glad this matter is behind us so we can better focus on caring for our guests and employees around the country.”