Latest News 2010 December Escargot Explodes, Personal Injuries Claimed

Escargot Explodes, Personal Injuries Claimed

Testimony is being given in the first lawsuit over an incident of "exploding" escargot during a meal in the San Rafael restaurant, Seafood Peddler, as reported by Silicon Valley's Mercury News.

So far the case has been receiving mainstream news attention, and has garnered a double in escargot sales for Seafood Peddler, since two diners filed a personal injury claim.

The manager of the landmark Canal-area restaurant, Richard Mayfield, testified that the restaurant has sold 743 escargots so far this year.  To this, Judge Roy Chernus queried, "Is that orders or individual sales?" While Mayfield answered, "orders", the courtroom was already laughing at the question.

The small-claims trial is taking place in Marin Superior Court.  The suit was filed by Chadwick St.-OHarra and Steve Righetti.  They are asking for $7,500 for negligence, pain and suffering.

Righetti, celebrating his birthday this past June, was taken out for dinner by his longtime friend, St.-OHarra, to Seafood Peddler.  The injury to both occurred when their escargot arrived.

As soon as they put their cocktail forks into the shell to retrieve the tiny snails butter sprayed their faces and clothes.  The two men chose to finish their celebratory dinner, didn't seek medical care and later filed the claim against the restaurant.

The two decided to file a lawsuit when the restaurant's insurer denied the claim.

St.-OHarra, a Danville resident, told the judge, "Our primary interest in being here is food safety, not whether we had a bad meal.  I couldn't see out of my eye for several minutes due to the grease in my tear duct.  We had no reason to expect that when we put the fork into the escargot, it would explode -- literally jump 2 to 3 inches off the plate."

Righetti, a Sonoma resident, testified, "I thought to myself, 'This just couldn't be happening on the day of my birthday.'  I just couldn't wait to leave the restaurant, to be honest with you."

Mayfield, along with co-defendant manager Manuel Camacho, testified that the men were there a full 90 minutes while they ate.  Mayfield, while preparing a dish that required tableside work for seven to 10 minutes, said that neither man mentioned an injury due to the escargot.

Mayfield reported that the two weren't charged for the escargot and were offered a complementary glass of wine.  He said, "We did everything to make this dinner right, and I just think this is a frivolous lawsuit."

Judge Chernus said he will have a decision in the matter within two weeks and would notify the litigants by mail.

Al Silvestri, the owner of Seafood Peddler, had said in an interview that St.-OHarra "made up his story."  To that, St.-OHarra would like to put him on the stand in answer to a slander lawsuit that he is considering filing next.

The two men, still dining together, commented on their lunch before coming to court, "We avoided any escargot."

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Categories: Personal Injury