The Case of the Chili Finger

finger trickWell, 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.

At-Fault Driver Found in Dual Trucking Accident


Two Speeding Semi TrucksFreight truckers, otherwise known as the 18-wheelers, can be some of the most careful drivers on the road. But even the most careful drivers can get into an accident. Sometimes they are caused by brake malfunctions due to a decline in proper maintenance, or sudden turns can cause the truck to “jackknife.” The most common cause of trucking accidents is roll-overs, which are usually caused by any manner of mechanical malfunction. There are also cases of driver error, whether they were at-fault or not – under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medicines, lack of sleep and long hours. But true to the “innocent until proven guilty” perspective, not all 18-wheeler drivers are immediately at fault when an accident occurs.

Earlier this month near Clinton, a short distance from Baton Rouge, LA, two 18-wheelers collided while trying to avoid a John Deere tractor on the highway. The tractor drove away from the scene, leaving one truck driver uninjured and the other to be airlifted to the nearest hospital for injuries.

Painting a Picture

It’s one of the greater fears that drivers face – to be involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler. Due to their sheer size and mass, an accident with a freight truck can be catastrophic, causing potentially fatal injuries and hours of clean-up. Even more time-consuming is the aftermath and uncovering who was at-fault.

Thankfully in this case, the story was clarified fairly quickly through both drivers and the police investigation. Shortly before 7:45 p.m. that evening, the two veteran truck drivers named Hardy Williams and Lacey David, each driving a separate truck, were cruising down Highway 67. A farm tractor was traveling on the highway, and when the trucks were quickly approaching the slow-moving tractor, both drivers took evasive measures and accidentally collided with each other. As a result of the collision, each driver’s cargo was spilled onto the highway in a mess of diesel fuel and logs.

The perpetrator was Edward Delee, who was driving the tractor without any lights on. This may well have caused the two truck drivers to act so evasively, as they may not have seen the tractor until the final moment. Delee has been arrested and charged with Hit-and-Run Driving, among other charges.

Regardless of who the at-fault driver was, it’s crucial to start gathering the evidence. Trucking companies begin this investigative process immediately, and we encourage any civilian drivers involved to consult with us as soon as possible as well.

Though the investigation is still pending, it’s worth admiring the speed at which the evidence was gathered. With the help of the truck drivers’ testimony, as well as witness accounts, the police were quickly able to assess the situation and track down the driver at-fault.

Contact Us For a Case Review

If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible, regardless of your level of involvement. As one of the most experienced vehicle accident and personal injury attorneys in Baton Rouge, LA, J. Price McNamara and our team will be happy to look over your case for free. Whether you are seeking compensation for an 18-wheeler accident or simply trying to uncover the truth of who was at-fault, let us help you navigate the road by contacting us or giving us a call at (225) 201-8311.

Woman Injured After Boat and Bridge Collision


Life belt closeup with boats in the backgroundMetairie residents were shocked this summer when a recreational boat collided with the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in June. The 21 foot fiberglass boat hit the bridge and was carrying five people, all family. According to Jefferson Parish and bridge authorities, one woman was injured when she and one other passenger were thrown from the boat. One of them was wearing a life jacket, while the other was thrown a life preserver while in the water.

Assessing the Boating Accident in Metairie, LA

Under General Maritime Law and Personal Injury, the injured woman in this scenario could have the standing to sue for injuries sustained from a recreational boating incident. The question, however, is who was responsible for the accident. For this scenario, there are a few points that must be taken into account:

  • Could the driver have avoided the bridge?

  • Was the driver being negligent?

  • Did the driver intend to crash the boat into the causeway?

  • Was there something wrong with the boat’s mechanics?

After a follow-up questioning with the driver by the authorities, he claimed that he had lost control of the steering, at which point the boat clipped the piling and crashed into the bridge.

If the boat’s steering had been faulty because of the manufacturer’s oversight, then the injured woman and her family have grounds to sue the manufacturer for negligence. However, if witnesses can prove that the driver was distracted while driving or not suited to drive the boat, then the driver could be sued for negligence.

Contact Our Team for A Free Case Review


How to Seek Compensation for a Burn Injury


bandaged arm of a child because of a skin lesionHave you sustained an extensive burn because of another person’s negligence? It could be as simple as using a curling iron that malfunctions, starts a fire and burns you in the process (this has happened!). Or, maybe you’ve gotten a radiation burn in an unfortunate x-ray incident. In these distressing instances, legal counsel can make all the difference. The Law Offices of J. Price McNamara can help you seek compensation for burns.

How did you get burned?

Some of the many ways people have acquired burn injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Heat: This includes flames from a burning or car fires.
  • Radiation: Could be caused from the sun, x-rays, or sun lamps.
  • Chemicals: Chemical spills that get into contact with your skin.
  • Electricity: Faulty electrical equipment, including curling irons, electric appliances, poor wiring, or power tools.

If you are burned in any of these manners through no fault of your own, then compensation may be sought. Clients typically seek compensation for:

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost income
  • Emotional and Physical Pain

In the midst of dealing with insurance companies, medical bills, and your injuries, you should have someone on your side. Burn injury patients usually go through lengthy and painful skin grafts to heal. Skin grafting is a procedure which involves replacing burnt tissue with healthy tissue from another part of the patient’s body.

Contact a Baton Rouge Personal Injury Lawyer

Because burn injury compensation cases are quite complicated, it’s imperative to speak with an experienced attorney when filing a claim. The Law Offices of J. Price McNamara can provide aggressive and effective legal representation by limiting the amount of cases at any given time. This makes for a more comprehensive, personal approach to each case—you deserve the individualized attention! If you have sustained a burn injury in the Baton Rouge or Metairie area, contact our offices today and we will get back to you promptly.