Woman chips in on losing tooth in burger

A Limerick fast food outlet where the Munster rugby team once celebrated by filling the Heineken Cup with its famous chips was at the centre of a legal maul yesterday during which a judge issued a red card to two insurance companies.

Martina Byrnes, of Quarry Rd, Thomondgate, sued Luigi Orlandi, trading as Luigiorlandi Ltd, Parnell St, and Rangeland Foods, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, after losing a tooth when biting into a piece of plastic lodged in a burger.

With a friend, Ms Byrnes got two takeaways from Luigi’s on the evening of July 10, 2012. As she ate a burger at her friend’s house, she bit into a piece of tubular plastic. She spat out the burger meat and found that raw meat was lodged in a 2in piece of plastic.

As a result, she lost a tooth and a filling also came out.

Judge Gerald Keys said he was satisfied Ms Byrnes had suffered an injury as a result of plastic in the burger.

He said the case came down to who should pick up the tab arising from her injury, the takeaway or the supplier of the burger.

In evidence, Mr Orlandi told how he bought burgers from Rangeland Food, with deliveries several times a week. The burgers were contained in sealed boxes and stored in a freezer.

In reply to his barrister, Donal O’Rourke, he said the plastic could not have come from his premises and could not have got into the burger meat from the buns or salad placed on the burgers.

Michael Collins, for Rangeland Foods, said its case would be that the process at their factory was such that no foreign matter like plastic could get into a burger due to the production method it used.

After lunch, Judge Keys said: “I think common sense should come into this case. Insurance companies cannot be complaining about the cost of litigation when these two insurance companies are spending a fortune on experts in this case that nobody can resolve.”

After a brief adjournment, Siobhan Gallagher, for Ms Byrnes, said the case against both defendants could be struck out, and that costs be awarded against the second defendant, Rangeland Foods.


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