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.

Summer; Trauma Season in the USA

summerAh, summer. You’re finally here. The blessed season of ice cream truck, screaming children, BBQ’s and crowded beaches. Really, what’s not to love? But seriously, all joking aside, something many people are not aware of is what summer is referred to in trauma centers and hospitals across the nation; trauma season. Trauma can often mean hefty hospital bills and court battles. That being said, we thought we’d share a little about the most common injuries sustained during the summer by people just for your personal information. So try and keep this article in mind when doing a handstand on the jet ski you rented, while going 30 mph, seems like a good idea.

Trauma Season

Summer can be a hazardous season for people’s health. While this fact is true for the adults who have access to alcohol, recreational vehicles, and a tendency to say “Hey ya’ll, watch this!” summer can be especially dangerous for kids.

Insert “Think of the children!” line here…

Anyways, your kids are out of school now. We know…try and contain your excitement (sarcasm). But in reality summer means no school, hours of free time, and the extra hours of daylight aiding children in their seemingly never-ending quests to break all of your nice things or themselves.

So here’s the bottom line folks. We love our kids and their energy. In fact many of us wish we could siphon some of it out of them and use it for ourselves. That being said, we are never going to stop them from scraping their knees, tripping in gopher holes and falling out of trees to land on their faces. Hoping to do so is impossible.

However, what’s not impossible is making sure they wear protective gear like helmets and elbow pads while they are hurtling down the neighborhood’s tallest hill on their scooters and roller blades. That way, when they reach the bottom, realize that physics did not take the summer off along with them, and crash into your neighbor’s trashcans or mailbox, they will be protected… as best they can be anyways.

Dr. Dennis Durbin, an attending physician in the emergency department at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia puts it best when he states “Sometimes parents overestimate their children’s capabilities, and in doing so, may inadvertently put them into a situation with an increased risk of injury.” In other words, unless your nine-year-old in some sort of physical prodigy, accept the fact that kids are clumsy and they are going to fall. So be prepared when they do.

Now For You Big Kids

Adults often overdo it in summer as well. In fact, adult trauma cases leap a staggering 25 to 30 percent in the summer months according to Louis Alarcon, medical director of trauma at UPMC Presbyterian.

As you might expect, adults tend to have more “grown up” injuries. By “grown up” we mean face palm worthy “Oh man, I can’t believe I just poured gasoline over the bonfire. Why did I do that?” or “Attempting to clean the gutters on the roof while no one else was home wasn’t the best idea,” types of injuries.

Bearing this in mind, it’s pretty clear that the most commonly seen injuries in adults during summer are  various types of burns and broken bones from falls. Actually, come to think of it, they’re not all that different from the ones kids receive.

Ok, so we’re all pretty much a bunch of kids during the summer. And that’s fine. Just do what you can to protect yourself. Stay hydrated to avoid heat stroke, wear sunscreen, and for goodness sake do not drink and drive. Other than that, get out there and make some memories folks!

To all our weekend warriors, BBQ masters, party animals, amateur “pro” athletes and stubborn handymen, we wish you the best of luck this summer. If you do manage to get hurt and need a personal injury attorney…Well, we’ll be here if you need us.

Godspeed, friends.


All About Hit And Run Accidents

Car AccidentHit 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.

Head Injury Lawsuits In Sports Increase In 2015

brain imageThis year has proven to be one filled with lawsuits for head injuries in multiple major sports. However, experts claim that the debate over concussion legislation will likely intensify in coming months.

In recent news, debate has been fiercely circling around concussions in the National Football League. Former players, their families, lawyers and medical experts point to the long term and serious side effects on head injuries and what the league should do to stop them. Athletes argue that they were simply doing their job. However, professional sporting policies may look very different once all te pending litigation is settled. Here are some sport injury cases pending litigation:

1) Wrestling
Athletes taking part in wrestling have recently joined the concussion debate. More specifically, two former wrestlers filed a lawsuit against the World Wrestling Entertainment league in the early part of 2015. The wrestlers allege that the WWE “subjected its wrestlers to extreme physical brutality that it knew, or should have known, caused latent conditions and long-term irreversible bodily damage, including brain damage.”

In contrast, the attorney for WWE claims that the league has always been up front with its athletes on the subject of injuries. They fully deny culpability and have vowed to fight any efforts to gain compensation for athletes suffering from the effects of head injuries.

2) Hockey
Hockey was actually in on the head injury lawsuits early on. As early as 2013, the first major lawsuit was filed against the National Hockey League. The lawsuit documents alleged that the NHL and its officials failed to monitor players during games and did not do enough to prevent concussions from occurring. There are currently 25 players pursuing damages, with more adding their names to the lawsuit every day.

Surprisingly, the NHL does not deny that concussions occurred in the league or that these concussions led to long-term health problems. However, they assert that these players knew the risks of their profession and chose to participate regardless. This particular lawsuit intensified in February when former NHL defenseman Steve Montador was found dead in his home at the young age of 35. Montador retired from the NHL in 2013. According to family and medical professionals, Montador never fully recovering from a season-ending concussion in 2012. The case highlights the importance of medical examinations and compensation for long term ill-effects of head injuries during professional athletic events.

3) Football
The no sport has more controversy over the concussion and head injury cases that the National Football League. The first major lawsuit was filed against the NFL in early 2011. Since that landmark case, over 5,000 former players have added their names to various suits against their former employer.

In response, the NFL has acknowledged the dangers of concussions in the sport and is working to come up with a settlement amount that will be used for prevention of current player head injuries and compensatory damages for players suffering from long term side effects of head injuries. Both the league and former players are optimistic about the future solutions proposed by both the league and attorneys for former players.

Let J. Price McNamara Help You With Your Case

If you or a loved one has recently suffered from a head injury or any other type of injury, you could be entitled to monetary compensation. Head injuries have been shown to have significant and serious long term side effects on athletes. If you live in Louisiana, you should also have an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge of the law to help you get the maximum compensation for your injuries. J. Price McNamara has practiced law for many years and he has an outstanding reputation among both his peers and with his community. The law may limit the time you have to file your case, so there is no time to waste. Call us today to schedule a free case review. The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you today.

Judge In Personal Injury Case Suspended For Trip With Plaintiff’s Attorneys


Judge J. Robin Free, a West Baton Rouge judge, was recently suspended for 30 days by the Louisiana Supreme Court for taking an inappropriate personal trip with a lawyer in a case he had presided over. According to reports, Free took a hunting trip with a Texas attorney who just happened to have a $1.2 million personal injury lawsuit settled in Free’s court room a week earlier.

The case in question was filed on behalf of an oil field worker who received injuries while on the job. Attorneys, David Rumley and Joe Ritch of the Corpus Christi, Texas, hired local counsel, Antonio “Tony” Clayton from Port Allen to assist with the case. Allen was reportedly well known to Judge Free.

According to the Louisiana Supreme Court opinion, Mr. Clayton was an Assistant District Attorney for the same circuit as Judge Free and regularly appeared before Judge Free as counsel of record in various criminal and civil cases.

The oil worker’s case was settled in the beginning of 2010 and the trip occured only a week later in April 2010. Court documents reported that Free traveled on a private jet with Clayton and a few others to Rumley’s ranch. Free stayed without paying expenses of any kind and later went on a turkey hunt with the others.

After the evidence was presented and reviewed, the Supreme Court found that because judges should “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities”, Free’s behavior “violated judicial canons”.

Both Clayton and Free insisted that Judge Free was only interested in advising Clayton about a possible ranch purchase. Interestingly enough, the testimony from the trip’s participants was determined to be “not entirely credible.”

In the interest of ensuring that justice had ultimately been served in the earlier oil workers case, the Commission found that Free’s acceptance of the trip had no involvement in his settlement role the previous week.

The Commission also noted that Judge Free accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized for his misconduct. He also assured the Commission that similar misconduct would never be repeated.

Reform Requested By Watchdog Groups

Free is also being ordered to reimburse and pay to the Commission $6,723.64 in associated costs. However, legal watch groups are calling into question the length of the suspension, as well as the severity of the punishment. Several groups are claiming that the incident points to serious problems with the Louisiana judicial system.

Melissa Landry, of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, asked, “Is a month long suspension really the appropriate sanction for a judge who has (by the court’s own admission) ‘harmed the integrity of and respect for’ the judiciary?”

Opponents are going as far as to call Free’s actions a “…stunning and recurrent lack of good judgment…”. Many groups say there is a lack of discipline and oversight exercised by the Louisiana judiciary that is deeply troubling.

“Simply put, we need reform. If the judiciary is unwilling or unable to hold themselves to a high standard of ethical conduct, then we must call on the governor and the legislature to hold them to that standard. Improving transparency and accountability throughout the judiciary are a must,” says Laundry.

See J. Price McNamara To Get The Compensation You Deserve

If you or someone you know has recently suffered from an injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Having a skilled personal injury legal team aggressively represent your interests is absolutely essential to getting you what you deserve for your injuries. J. Price McNamara has been practing in the Metairie and Baton Rouge, LA areas for many years and has helped hundreds of clients just like you. Don’t wait! The law limits the amount of time you have to file your claim, so time is of the essence. Call us today to schedule your free case review. The experienced team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you!

Document, Document, Document! A Guide to Personal Injury Lawsuits



Construction Worker Falling Off Ladder And Injuring LegIn the legal world, evidence is king. That’s why keeping records of injuries sustained at the workplace, in a car accident, or at a business’ premises is extremely important to a successful personal injury case. Documents helps the judge corroborate your story, so that he can award you the compensation you deserve. In what follows, we provide a few examples of personal injury cases going awry as a result of inadequate documentation and a number of tips on how to go about making sure you record all the information you need to successfully seek compensation for injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence.

Keep Records and Write Down the Details

Darren Sharper, an ex-NFL player, is embroiled in an ongoing lawsuit against the New Orleans Saints, a team he played for between 2009–10. Sharper is suing his former employer over a knee injury he sustained during a game in early November 2009. Having filed the claim in late 2011, the judge ruled that too much time had elapsed between the injury and the claim, as the Louisiana Workers Compensation Act requires the plaintiff to present his or her case within one year of the accident. While Sharper also claims that he sustained a second injury in January 2011, his failure to present evidence and documentation of the accident has significantly hampered his case.

This goes to show how important documentation and record-keeping can be. Some general advice to keep in mind:

  1. Write down the time, place, date, and circumstances of the accident. Make sure to do this when the details are fresh on your mind, and include as many important facts as possible. Other details well worth jotting down include how the accident happened, what the accident sounded and felt like, as well as what witnesses said about it.
  2. If there were witnesses, it’s a good idea to write down their name and number.
  3. Seek medical attention immediately, even if you’re not sure you’ve been injured. If you do not seek medical treatment, this inaction may be interpreted as a “denial of injury.” Remember to keep any medical documents you receive.
  4. Keep notes on how your injuries progress, including any pain or discomfort you feel. Without notes, you risk forgetting these details and you may not receive the deserved compensation. Also keep a record of economic losses, including work hours lost.
  5. Locate evidence and make sure to photograph it. Also take care to photograph the premises and the general environment of where the accident took place. If there is physical evidence, it’s a good idea to ensure that it remains in the state it was just after the accident took place.

It’s also important to warn your insurance policy provider of any intention to file a personal injury claim, as failing to do so can be construed as a breach in the policy’s terms. Also a good choice, notify the parties involved through a simple letter; it’s important not to assign blame and do not describe your injuries. The main reason to give notice is to avoid any delays to your case, since surely you’ll want to resolve your personal injury lawsuit as quickly as possible.

Hire an Experienced Attorney

Hiring an attorney that knows the legal system and holds adequate understanding of Louisiana law is of paramount importance. Price McNamara, with law offices in Metairie and Baton Rouge, LA is a former insurance company defense attorney with many years of experience in personal injury lawsuits. Rated “AV” by his peers, he is a well-known attorney who can help you attain the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured as a result of another party’s negligence, contactPrice McNamara today to schedule your no-obligation consultation today! Call us at (225)201-8311.

GM Ignition Switch Woes Worsen with Jeep Recall

drive thru

Latest Recall Affects 792,000 Jeep Vehicles

The hits just keep on coming for US automotive manufacturer General Motors as they announced on Tuesday July, 22 a recall of 792,000 vehicles affected by potentially faulty ignition switches. The latest recall addresses flaws discovered in Jeep Commanders from model years 2006-2007 and Jeep Grand Cherokees from 2005-2007. The problem can cause the ignition key to move out of the “on” position to the “accessory” setting if it happens to come into contact with the driver’s knee. This could cause to the engine to turn off, which would and disable the airbag system, power steering, and power braking capabilities of the vehicle. GM has been in the spotlight throughout this year due to their massive recall of approximately 29 million vehicles worldwide with almost 25 million recalled in the US alone. Faulty ignition switches, according to GM, have been associated with at least 13 deaths and 54 vehicular crashes so far. GM used ignition switches manufactured by Delphi Automotive, who places the blame squarely on GM’s approval of the faulty part design. Delphi CEO Rodney O’Neal stated during testimony to lawmaker’s that Delphi made “the swtich that GM approved and wanted,” according to Reuters. He went on to state that “GM knowingly approved a final design that included less torque than the original target.” Delphi has sent over 1 million new switches to replace the recalled parts.

How J. Price McNamara Can Help

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident caused by a faulty ignition switch in one of the many vehicles affected by the massive recalls by General Motors, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injury or loss. J. Price McNamara is an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney representing clients from the Baton Rouge, Metairie, and neighboring areas of Louisiana. The mission of the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is to stop insurance companies from exploiting the injured and the disabled. Having experienced legal representation to look after your best interests is imperative to realizing the desired outcome of your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Our firm utilizes a limited case load model to ensure that your case gets the time and attention that your case demands. J. Price McNamara is a former insurance attorney and Louisiana prosecutor who has the expertise to handle every aspect of your case from filing to finish. Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara to schedule your free consultation and case review today!

Automobile Accident Injury: What You Should Know


Firefighters helping an injured woman in a car

Automobile Accident Injury | Baton Rouge, LA | Law Offices of J. Price McNamara

Have you been injured in a motor-vehicle accident in Baton Rouge, LA, Metairie, LA, or another neighboring area in Louisiana? If so, then you should contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara in Baton Rouge, LA to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Vehicle accidents claim the lives of thousands of Americans annually, and many thousands more suffer injuries as a result of automobile accidents. Automobile accidents can be caused by a variety of factors such as distracted drivers, intoxicated drivers, dangerous or reckless drivers, or even by those operating a motor vehicle without a license. Injuries sustained in a motor-vehicle accident can range from minor to debilitating, regardless of the severity of the accident that caused it. Read on to learn about what you should do if you are injured in a motor-vehicle accident in Baton Rouge, LA.

What to Do If You Are Injured in an Automobile Accident

If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Baton Rouge, LA, Metairie, LA, or any surrounding area, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to get compensation for your injuries. The expert personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara have the expertise necessary to evaluate the appropriate amount of compensation that you should recover from the responsible party’s insurance company. To increase your chances of success in your personal injury lawsuit, here are some steps you should be sure to take if you are injured in an automobile accident in Baton Rouge, LA or anywhere else in Louisiana for that matter:

Do Not Admit Fault for the Accident

Don’t admit fault for the accident to anybody at the immediate scene or who arrives after the accident. Your personal perception of the accident could be skewed by your current emotional state and it’s best not to make any statements until you can think clearly and rationally. Your immediate concern should be getting medical attention for your injuries.

Get Immediate Medical Attention

Seek medical attention from a doctor as soon as you are able. You may not be experiencing symptoms of an injury or you may not think that your injuries merit medical attention, but your injuries may manifest themselves in the hours or days after the accident. If you wait too long to see a doctor for your injuries, it may be more difficult to prove that they were caused by the accident.

Photo-Document the Accident and Your Injuries

Take pictures or video (or ask a friend to) of any physical injuries, any damage to vehicles involved in the accident, and any contact and insurance information provided by other parties involved an any witnesses to the accident. This photo-documentation will be invaluable evident to support your case.

Document Everything and Keep Records

Be sure to get documentation for all of your medical treatments, and be sure to keep any payment receipts or health insurance claims forms that you had to fill out for your treatment. This information will be used to seek full reimbursement for any treatment or professional services required for any injuries sustained in the auto accident.

Get a Copy of the Police Report

Be sure to get a copy of any police reports so that you can make sure that the facts presented therein are correct and accurate. Missing or erroneous information could adversely affect or delay your personal injury case.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara for Expert Representation

Having experienced and knowledgeable legal respresentation from a respected and reputable firm such as the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara in Baton Rouge, LA can mean all the difference in a successful personal injury case. If you were injured in an automobile, truck, or motorcycle accident in Baton Rouge, LA or in any neighboring areas, then you should contact our office for your free personal injury consultation today!