The Case of the Chili Finger
Well, folks, it’s officially winter time. Snow was falling across much of the nation by early November. Now that it’s almost December you could say things are getting rather chilly. Speaking of chilly, Baton Rouge, LA personal Injury Attorney J. Price McNamara and the rest of his staff thought it might be appropriate to delve a little deeper into the infamous “Wendy’s Chili Finger” case.
The Case of the Wayward Chili Finger
Here’s a little light-hearted winter reading for you. I’m pretty sure you have all heard about the infamous lawsuit filed against the mega-conglomerate fast food chain Wendy’s in 2005. If not, well here’s a little background on the whole debacle.
On March 22, 2005, a woman by the name of Anna Ayala claimed that she found a severed human finger in a cup of chili she had ordered from Wendy’s. If this isn’t ridiculous enough, as you would think someone would notice an employee screaming about the fact that they had just severed their finger, an actual investigation was performed by the San Jose Police Department and Santa Clara County.
Though early reports from the incident claimed that the finger was, indeed, fully cooked, it was soon concluded that the finger in question did not come from any employees working at Wendy’s location or any of the ingredients used to make the chili. To make matters even more interesting, simple forensics made short time of determining that the tissue on the finger was not consistent with what human tissue would look like if it had been cooked in something for three hours at 170 degrees. Hmm… the chili plot thickens.
Of course, one would think that if Wendy’s was truly at fault for this incident, they might be looking at a hefty lawsuit. But were they?
Some Facts About the Case
Well, things start to come together, and fall apart for Miss Ayala, within the third paragraph of the San Jose Police Department Statement of Facts, written by Christopher A. Wilson who was the officer assigned with investigating the incident.
According to Wilson, on the day of March 31st, 2005 all of Miss Ayala’s family members who were present at the time she claimed to have “bitten into the finger” were interviewed. However, none of them claimed to have seen the finger in Ayala’s mouth but did see it once she drew attention to it. Ayala’s brother in law, who was sitting next to her, claims Ayala stated the finger had been in her mouth and she spit it out into the cup, however, he did not see her vomit.
On the other hand, Ayala’s mother-in-law states that she witnessed Ayala spit the item into the cup of chili and begin to vomit. However, no evidence of vomiting could be found at the scene upon investigation.
On March 29th, 2005 Wendy’s employees that were present at the time the finger was found in Ayala’s chili cup agreed to consensual Voice Stress Analyzer tests. The employees were asked about the incident and tests revealed that each was telling the truth about having no prior knowledge of the finger, its origins, or its placement into the chili. Additional witnesses who were present in the restaurant at the time Ayala found the finger in her chili also claimed the same as the Wendy’s employees. No one knew anything about the finger.
Background checks were then performed on Ayala herself. The results of which revealed that Ayala had filed numerous civil claims, thirteen to be exact, in both Nevada and California. It was also discovered that Ayala often times settled for cash payouts before the cases were ever heard in court.
Furthermore, a traceback on the food products used in the preparation of Wendy’s food was performed by the California Department of Health Services. It revealed that no accidents or contaminations had been reported in any of the locations that provide Wendy’s with food products.
Then, on April 12th, 2005 it was publicly announced that Ayala was no longer seeking compensation from Wendy’s. However, the Corporate Director of Marketing for Wendy’s responded with a claim of their own. Apparently, the corporation had been experiencing an estimated loss of one million dollars a day in sales since the incident was made public on March 22, 2005.
So what does this leave us with? It means that the finger came from an outside source, and that outside source appears to have been Ayala herself. It also leaves Miss Ayala looking at a heap of trouble.
So, What Actually Happened? And More Importantly, Where Did the Finger Come From?
This case really flipped on Ayala, and her husband. Jaime Plascencia, as well. Both of them were actually involved in the incident and both ended up pleading guilty to planting the finger. Both were sentenced to nine years in prison.
However, Ayala was released from prison after four years due to good behavior. It was after her release that Ayala came clean to the public about the incident.
“I cooked it,” Ayala states in an interview with ABC, regarding the finger. Ayala revealed that her husband obtained the finger from a friend of theirs who had lost it in an industrial accident. Ayala stated that she cooked the finger at home, brought it to the Wendy’s and then placed it into the cup of chili she had ordered.
Moral of the Story?
Personal injury lawsuits are not something to mess with. They are taken very seriously in the eyes of the law, and full-scale investigations will be launched based on claims made the “victims.” In other words, if you are lying, you will be discovered, and you will have to suffer the consequences. Forensics are leading the way in courts of law across the globe, breaking new ground and making it harder than ever to lie about things.
Remember, people can lie all they want, but forensic evidence has no bias.
Until next time readers, stay truthful and Godspeed.
8 Important Facts About Worker’s Compensation
1) What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a state-sponsored form of protection that offers benefits to employees who are injured on the job. The benefits can include medical care, wages, rehabilitation, and/or death benefits. All employers must pay for the medical care and indemnity wage benefits if one of their employees is injured on the job, unless they are statutorily exempted.
2) Am I Covered By Workers’ Compensation Law?
Most employees in Louisiana are covered regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, or minors. Most subcontractors, domestic employees, real estate agents, uncompensated officers, directors of certain non-profit organizations, and public officials cannot receive these benefits. Volunteer workers are also not entitled to benefits.
3) What Kinds Of Injuries Are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
Most types of mental and physical injuries are covered if they are related to on-the-job accidents or occupational diseases. Mental injuries must be proven to be the result of a physical injury or of a sudden, unexpected and extraordinary stress related to the job.
4) Are There Any Instances Where Recovery Would Be Barred?
Compensation is usually barred if the injury was caused by the employee’s willful intention to injure himself/herself or others; intoxication at the time of the injury, the injuries are the result of an unprovoked physical altercation or the worker was involved in “horseplay” at the time that the injury occurred.
5) What Happens If I Am Barred From Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you are barred from receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits, you can file a Disputed Claim for Compensation. This process provides a means to appeal your case through an administrative law proceeding in one of ten offices in the State of Louisiana. The appeals process can take six to nine months to resolve.
6) Can I Get My Job Back After I Am Recovered From My Injury?
Employers are not required to hold a job for you if you are unable to perform your job due to your injury. Your employer also does not need to create a new job for you when you are able to return to work. However, you cannot be terminated solely because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. If this happens you would possibly be able to file a lawsuit against your employer and recover damages.
7) What If I Cannot Return To My Old Job?
Employees can sometimes obtain vocational rehabilitation services after they recover from their injury. Rehabilitation services are intended to return a disabled employee to work, with a minimum of retraining, as soon as possible after an injury occurs.
8) Do I Need To Hire An Attorney?
You are not required to have an attorney for a workers’ compensation case. However, because of the complexity and potential for serious problems, it is best to have a lawyer for more complicated cases.
If you have more questions about Worker’s Compensation Law, it is important that you speak to someone who knows about cases like yours. J. Price McNamara has a long history of dealing with Worker’s Compensation Cases like yours. The first step is to call and set up a consultation so one of our skilled attorneys can review the facts of your case. We are here to help, so call us today to get started.
Call J. Price McNamara Today For Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Case
Here at the law firm of J. Price McNamara, we know how important effective and aggressive legal representation is for your Worker’s Compensation case outcome. J. Price McNamara has the experience, skill and drive to fight for your case and help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The law limits the amount of time you have to file your case, so do not wait. The law firm of J. Price McNamara is here to help you resolve your case now. Call our practice today for your free case review.
6 Common Questions About Maritime Injury Cases
Hundreds of workers are injured each year while working on or around the water. When this happens, maritime law is often used to file a claim and recover damages from another party. Maritime law can be a complex and challenging area of law. Below are six common questions that you might have as an injured maritime worker and the answers you need to proceed with your maritime case.
Question: I was injured while working on or near the water. What can I do?
Answer: Your first step is to, contact J. Price McNamara who can help you pursue a lawsuit and recover damages. In most instances, if you were injured while working on or near the water then you may be entitled to file a claim under general maritime law, the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act, or the Death on the High Seas Act.
Question: I have been injured in a maritime accident where should I go for legal help with my case?
Answer: J. Price McNamara represents maritime workers , Jones Act seamen, longshoremen, deckhands, oil rig workers, barge workers and various other types of maritime workers on the Mississippi River and in the Gulf of Mexico. If you’ve been injured while working on an oil rig, floating crane barge, crew vessel, supply vessel, cargo ship, tanker, fishing vessel, drill ship, construction barge, towboat, tugboat, or other floating vessel or structure then please contact us today to find out how we can help you with your maritime case.
Question: If I bring a lawsuit against my employer, will I be blackballed from future maritime jobs?
Answer: Here at J. Price McNamara, we believe that there is no black list. Moreover, there are laws that are designed to prevent any past, present or future employer from revealing and information about injuries that you may have gotten at your maritime job. In fact, we have had several former clients who later returned to offshore work after settlements from their case and recovery from their injuries.
Question: What much money can I get for my maritime injury lawsuit?
Answer: There is no guarantee of monetary compensation in any maritime case. However, if you do receive compensation, the amount will depend on your situation, your injuries and several other factors. If your case is successful, you may receive compensation for disfigurement, physical disability, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, mental disability, property damage and/or loss of additional benefits.
Question: J. Price McNamara is located in Louisiana, but I was injured in another state. Can I still get help from your firm?
Answer: We’ve represented clients in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas as well as workers injured in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River. In addition, we have helped injured seamen across the United States by working with their local attorneys to ensure they have a skilled and experienced maritime injury legal team on their side.
Question: How do I get started?
Answer: Getting started is easy. You will need to contact our office and schedule your free case review. This will help us to hear about your case and determine how we can help you get the most compensation for your injuries. Call us now to get started.
Let J. Price McNamara Help You With Your Maritime Case
If you or someone you know has been injured during work on or near the water, you need a legal team that understands Maritime Law. The attorneys at J. Price McNamara may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve from your Maritime injuries. With many years of focus on maritime law and Jones Act cases, our attorneys J. Price McNamara has an impressive legal track record and enjoys a stellar reputation in the Baton Rouge legal community and beyond. A history of favorable verdicts and impressive settlements speaks to the skill and experience J. Price McNamara has with these types of cases. Call us today for your free case review and let us get started on helping you!
All About Hit And Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents can be traumatic, particularly if there are injuries involved. Such cases can be complicated and hard to recover from. However, you should know that even if you were unable to get details about the driver, you may still be able to get compensation for your injuries. At J. Price McNamara, we want Baton Rouge residents to know that if they were involved in a hit and run accident, we might be able to help. Here is some important information:
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit and run is defined as an incident where a driver causes an accident or injury and intentionally leaves the scene without providing contact or identifying information. Here are some examples of hit and run accidents:
· A driver hits a pedestrian and fails to stop and offer assistance to the injured person.
· A driver crashes into your car and then flees the scene.
· Another driver hits your parked car and leaves no contact information.
In many states, leaving the scene of such an accident (regardless of whether injuries are involved) is a misdemeanor. However, if a driver leaves the scene of an accident where personal injury was involved they may face serious criminal charges.
Getting Compensation For Your Injuries
If the police are able to identify the driver responsible for your accident, and that person has a valid insurance policy, you may bring a personal injury claim against him. If the driver was not insured or you could not identify the person who hit you, all is not lost. Other coverage such as personal injury protection, medical payments and collision may cover your injuries and damage to your car.
In most states, the uninsured motorist provision in your coverage will usually pay for your medical expenses and sometimes, damage to your car as well. However, the state of Louisiana will not allow uninsured motorist coverage to be used for damages from a hit and run. If you have been involved in a hit and run accident and you questions about recovery or insurance coverage, the best place to start is with your insurance carrier. Next, it is important to gather your insurance information and contact an experienced attorney.
Call J. Price McNamara For Help With Your Case
If you or a loved one are dealing with an injury from a hit and run accident, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to deal with these types of cases. Only an attorney with knowledge of the appropriate laws can help you get you the outcome you deserve for your case. J. Price McNamara has been practicing law in Louisiana for many years and has handled many cases just like yours. With a wealth of knowledge and respect from both the legal and surrounding community, J. Price McNamara can provide the legal representation that you need to get compensation for your injuries. Call us today to schedule your free case review and get an experienced attorney on your side. The law may limit the time you have to file your case, so don’t wait! Call us now.
Louisiana Taxpayers Must Pay Back Insurance Health Subsidies
There may be an unpleasant surprise for many Louisiana taxpayers who received federal subsidies for health coverage in 2014. According to recent reports, the federal government want a good portion of that money back because some tax payers incorrectly estimated their incomes.
In fact, up to 45,000 Louisiana residents will either get a reduced refund or will end up paying more taxes as a result of this recent development. The determining factor is whether payers underestimated or overestimated their income when enrolling for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
In many cases, Louisiana residents received a government subsidy that was based on their estimated income to help pay for the insurance coverage. But now many are learning that they have to give up part of their tax refund to repay a portion of the subsidy.
According to experts, enrollees in the Affordable Care Act can qualify for a premium tax credit based on their estimated income. The credit can also be used as an advance payment paid directly to their insurance provider. Records show that approximately 90 percent of the lower to middle income taxpayers who enrolled in the federal marketplace in Louisiana received a federal subsidy for insurance. However, many of these taxpayers underestimated their income.
Many workers that enrolled underestimated their income because it was based on job the workers had when they enrolled under the health care law. However, many left positions jobs with better pay or for other reasons. Whatever the reasons may be, workers are finding themselves being penalized for subsidies they received based on honest estimations of income.
Louisiana tax payers are understandably upset and demanding that this issue be fixed as soon as possible. Many find it unfair that they are being penalized for doing what they were supposed to do according to the new “Obamacare” regulations.
Angry opponents of “Obamacare” point to this issue as just another problem with an already unsuccessful government created heath care plan. Still others are demanding answers from law makers about how this could be happening.
Experts estimate that nearly half of the subsidy-eligible households nationwide have to repay their subsidy because of underestimating income. Additionally, some payers are also paying the penalty accidentally for not having health insurance. This can also add up to significant fines for lower income families.
Reports suggest that the average national repayment will be $794, while the average refund is usually around $773. What this means is that for the first time, some families must pay the IRS instead of getting a tax refund. This is starting to present huge problems for families who were counting on the extra money from tax returns to pay for necessary items.
In the tax season crush that already presents significant stress and anxiety, this new development is creating ripples of anger and disappointment through the community. However, there is some relief for lower income families though since repayments are limited for lower-income filers.
Families with income between 100 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level, must only pay up to a maximum repayment of $600. Families who are between 200 percent and 300 percent of poverty level must pay a maximum of $1,500 back to the government. This can make a huge difference for lower income families who are already struggling to survive.
Let J. Price McNamara Help You With Your Case
If you or a loved one are dealing with an insurance issue, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to deal with insurance cases. Insurance law can be complicated and most insurance companies have teams of lawyers working for them. For this reason, only an attorney with knowledge of Louisiana and federal insurance laws can help you get you the outcome you deserve for your case. J. Price McNamara has been practicing law in Louisiana for many years and has handled many cases just like yours. With a wealth of knowledge and respect from both the legal and surrounding community, J. Price McNamara can provide the legal representation that you need. The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you with your insurance case. Call us today to schedule your free case review and get an experienced insurance attorney on your side. The law may limit the time you have to file your case, so don’t wait!