Sequim man sues over alleged tainted sandwich

By Randy Trick, Peninsula Daily News

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SEQUIM - A Sequim man has filed a lawsuit against the national fast food chain Jack in the Box, saying he bit into a breakfast sandwich and found a piece of metal.

Quinn Hampton "reacted immediately and spit out the foreign material along with pieces of broken teeth," said the lawsuit, which was filed May 30 in Clallam County Superior Court.

Hampton said he bought the sandwich from the Sequim branch of the restaurant in October 2005 and ate it at a construction site at which he worked.

Hampton is seeking $6,000 to cover the dental bills for repairing six teeth, along with an unspecified amount in pain and suffering and lost wages.

Hampton's attorney, Patrick McMenamin of the personal injury law firm McMenamin and McMenamin of Port Angeles, said Jack in the Box, through its insurance provider CNA, was offered a chance to avoid the lawsuit in May 2006.

McMenamin said he asked the company to pay Hampton's medical bills and offer an undisclosed amount of compensation, but CNA declined in a letter sent in February 2007.

CNA: Not liable
Because Hampton unwrapped the sandwich and ate it at a construction site rather than within the restaurant, the food chain could not be held liable, the letter said.

The insurance company also said that if there was indeed a piece of metal in the sandwich, there is no way of knowing whether it was in the sandwich when it was sold or if it had been added sometime before Hampton bit into it at his job site.

"The logic of it isn't there for me, because they have a drive through and expect them to consume off the property," McMenamin said.

Hampton is suing under the Washington Product Liability Act, which holds manufacturers liable for the safety of their products.

In this case, the restaurant would be considered a sandwich manufacturer.

"We want to provide Jack in the Box a fair opportunity to resolve the claim," McMenamin said.

Hampton, when contacted by the Peninsula Daily News, said he was disappointed his problem with Jack in the Box could not be resolved without a lawsuit.

He referred further comments to his attorney.

Jack in the Box did not return repeated messages for comment. The company has until June 27 to answer the lawsuit

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Reporter Randy Trick can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at randy.trick@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 10. 2007 9:00PM
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