Police Officer Awarded $40,000 Over KFC's Urine-Tainted Food

A police officer and his family from Sydney, Nebraska have been awarded $40,000 from their lawsuit which alleged that a KFC/Taco Bell store had served them food contaminated with an employee’s spit and urine in 2005. The lawsuit stated that fellow workers actually saw the employee taint the food and told management who failed to alert the family, according to the AP. Consequently, the officer’s two sons became violently ill. His 4-year-old was hospitalized and treated for gastroenteritis and dehydration. Details, inside…

The article says,

A KFC spokesman, Rick Maynard, said KFC is committed to the highest levels of food safety.

“Our franchisee does not agree with the court’s verdict, and they are looking at their legal options,” Maynard said Monday.

The suit also alleged that Andrew, his wife and their children were victims of an employee scheme that targeted police officers.

“Employees maintained ‘special servings’ of food reserved for … officers,” the lawsuit said. “The ‘special servings’ had been urinated in or spit in by KFC/Taco Bell employees.”

The employee accused of urinating and spitting in the Andrew family’s food, Casey Diedrich, pleaded guilty last year to violating the Nebraska Pure Food Act and fined $100, according to court records. The prosecution was for the same incident described in the lawsuit.

A company spokesman said last year that Diedrich eventually was fired for missing work but not for any of the incidents the lawsuit cited.

What’s even more shocking than the food contamination itself is that the management did nothing to prevent the family from consuming the tainted food. We can understand how the concept of CYA (cover your ass) may have been a factor, but when information has been brought to your attention that directly impacts the safety of your customers, as a restaurant manager, the only reasonable action is prevent anyone from consuming that food. Now, I’m starting to wonder about all the times that KFC has left me feeling nauseous–I better not.

Neb. cop, family win $40K over urine-tainted food [AP]
(Photo:Scott Ableman)

Comments

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  1. xkaluv says:

    That just doesn’t seem like much money, I would think he would have been able to get much more.

    -Tim

  2. andrewe says:

    And I thought gravy made out of fryer scrapings was bad…

  3. chrisjames says:

    “Our franchisee does not agree with the court’s verdict, and they are looking at their legal options,”

    The guy pleaded guilty and was fined for the incident. His family was sick and one was hospitalized. $40,000 doesn’t sound like enough. And now that KFC is acting like they aren’t responsible, I think they need a big ol’ punitive slap:

    “NO! Bad KFC. Bad! Don’t do that again! I’ll rub your nose in it.”

    @andrewe: Best gravy ever.

  4. evslin says:

    @chrisjames: Heck yeah, grease is a seasoning

  5. Legal_Eagle_In_Training says:

    I’m surprised the franchisor isn’t saying more than they are. It is obvious that this franchisee and his/her managers needs more direct attention and should be, at the very least, ordered to attend more safe food preparation courses.

  6. DashTheHand says:

    For a chain like KFC/Taco Bell, 40k sounds like pocket change.

  7. henrygates says:

    A $100 fine? He did it before and he was still working there? Something very wrong with that!

  8. backbroken says:

    How is this franchise allowed to remain in business?

  9. Rachacha says:

    “A KFC spokesman, Rick Maynard, said KFC is committed to the highest levels of food safety.

    The employee accused … pleaded guilty last year … and fined $100, according to court records.

    A company spokesman said last year that Diedrich eventually was fired for missing work but not for any of the incidents the lawsuit cited.”

    So let me get this straight…Employee “contaminates” food, and witnesses told management. Management did not alert the family…family gets sick…employee pleads guilty…employee KEEPS JOB (until he is fired for poor attendence).
    I am glad that “KFC is committed to the highest levels of food safety”

    Hey Casey Diedrich, McDonalds is the restaurant with the “Special Sauce”, not KFC!

  10. cashmerewhore says:

    @andrewe:

    Bacon scraping in a pot of soup beans or cornbread is heaven.

    That said, there had to be something more than urine and spit in the “special order”, because if you’re healthy, your urine is pretty sterile and shouldn’t make you sick (yeah — creatinine, nitrogen, etc are in it, but that’s coming out of the food you ate already….)

  11. Off topic:

    Could you _please_ quit with the totally useless “details inside…” bit. It doesn’t show up in the minimal RSS feed. So all that fragment does is disrupt the flow of the article. Am I supposed to open something to find the details? Oh, no, I just _keep reading the article_.

    [allinthehead.com]

  12. AMetamorphosis says:

    If this the Colonel’s special recipe with eleven herbs and spices I want to know what the other nine ingrediants are comprised of …

  13. @James Sumners: Seriously. What’s the point of “Details inside…” when you have “More »” in all caps?

  14. shoelace414 says:

    @James Sumners: Gawker pays based on page views for everyone but Brian Lam (Gizmodo). So if you don’t click in to read the article, the writer doesn’t get paid for you viewing it. (that’s the way I understand it anyway)

  15. Askiba says:

    “Casey Diedrich, pleaded guilty last year to violating the Nebraska Pure Food Act and fined $100″

    In the words of Kyle Katarn: ‘you’ve GOT to be kidding me.’

    $100 dollars? Yep, I’m sure he took a real hit there. Unless he’s flat out poor, then he probably laughed and made it all again in a week’s worth of work.

  16. MyPetFly says:

    KFC = Keeping Food Contaminated.

    Thankfully I haven’t eaten KFC or TB (Tuberculosis) in years. I have more respect for my body than that.

  17. @shoelace414:

    And how does that have anything to do with a “details inside” that doesn’t show up at any other time than when you are actively reading the full article?

  18. battra92 says:

    According to the Waiter who posted confessions earlier this is entirely acceptable.

    @MyPetFly: “KFC = Keeping Food Contaminated.”

    I’ll have to remember that.

  19. Ben Popken says:

    @James Sumners: If you have concerns about how a post is written, send them directly to the author, as per The Consumerist Comments Code.

  20. gmoney says:

    Hmm…this sounds like an upgrade over some of what I’ve eaten at KFC.

  21. MissPeacock says:

    @cashmerewhore: Urine is typically not sterile once it leaves your body.

  22. Nighthawke says:

    @cashmerewhore: It depends on what the jerk drank/ate/smoked/doped before he did the deed.

    Yum! Brands makes hundreds of millions from their chains. I don’t see why they don’t settle out of court, close the offending store for a week and retrain the entire staff, on the clock! They try to do it off the clock, they might as well hang a sign out advertising Help Wanted.

    An event like that needs to be vigorously dealt with, when it happens, not screwing around until the court subpoenas hit the mail box.

  23. @Ben Popken:

    Sorry. I wasn’t aware of the code.

  24. buyer5 says:

    You need dinner, fast? At KFC urine business!

  25. MasterShake says:

    I used to work as a painter in high school for a company that painted the exteriors of fast food restaurants in Michigan. On one afternoon I was painting the rear door that openned into the kitchen and I overheard two employees talking when one said, “Just hide it in the coleslaw, no one will notice.” I don’t know what the subject was and didn’t want to as I’d been eating there for lunch the couple days we had been painting it. I don’t know if it was said just for me to overhear or if “it” was something that didn’t belong anywhere near food, but I have not eaten KFC since.

  26. rellog says:

    @henrygates: No kidding. How is this guy not in jail for this??? If I were the cop, I’d have done a bit of “street justice” on the kid if this was the extent of his punishment. The employee AND the manager deserve baseball bats to the shins, IMO.

  27. rellog says:

    @cashmerewhore: Maybe the usrine is fairly sterile (if the guy was healthy) but his spit sure isn’t. And if he’s THAT gross, I doubt he washed his hands after using the bathroom…

  28. LogicalOne says:

    @cashmerewhore: Spit is by no means sterile. Even if it was, that does not justify the employees’ actions.

    Also, the article states that the “Employees maintained ‘special servings’ of food reserved for … officers,”. What does that mean? Did they keep those servings in an area separate from the untainted food? I’m willing to bet that they didn’t keep those servings in the same fine sanitary conditions that the regular food was kept.

    IANAL but, it sounds like the employees planned this. This was not a spur of the moment, one time event. I think there’s a case for charging these employees with battery and intent to commit bodily harm.

  29. Shadowman615 says:

    Unbelievable that the employees got away with that. Yes, nothing more than a $100 fine most certainly qualifies as getting away with it.

    And KFC has the audacity to consider appealing this? They don’t agree that they should have to serve urine-free food?

  30. kyle4 says:

    He may have gotten away easily with it but I’m sure the police will have their eyes on him for anything he does now, however little it may be. Don’t screw with cops and their families, you’ll only get burned.

  31. velvetjones says:

    @cashmerewhore: that’s exactly what i was thinking. if they got gastroenteritis….there’s a good chance that employeed dropped a deuce in the food too.

  32. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    It’s like the old saying goes: Everyone hates cops.. until you need one, that is.

    It’s really sad that the KFC employees had to resort to food tampering in order to feel empowered. They’re really lucky the cop’s kid didn’t experience any near fatal reactions. I’m pretty sure those employees are all on a “special list” with the local police department now. Haha.

  33. trioxinaddict says:

    Uh, yeah. Shit like this is why I don’t think it’s cute when people at restaurants joke around about waiters fucking with the food.

    I sincerely hope the family involved keeps pursuing this, especially if KFC appeals. That is just awful on so many levels. Fine, you hate cops, whatever. Grow up.

  34. AdvocatesDevil says:

    I’m sure someone on here will defend the employee. “Well, maybe if they had tipped him better, he wouldn’t have been forced to piss in their food!”

  35. kathyl says:

    I agree with the people saying that $40,000 isn’t enough. Disgusting behavior, and the fine should cause enough pain that other managers will be more careful about letting their employees engage in such idiotic behavior in the future.

    $40,000 isn’t even a mosquito bite to this company, and their outrage and appeal to have the fine lowered is just as disgusting as the initial behavior that caused the lawsuit was.

    The idea that the initial $100 (one hundred dollars? are you kidding me?) fine should stand is pure lunacy. That’s NOTHING. That probably wouldn’t have covered the co-pay the family had to spend on their children’s hospital visits.

  36. ras_d says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat:

    The special list that involves pistol whipping i hope

  37. Gopher bond says:

    urinating in the food, that’s a paddling.

  38. there had to be something more than urine and spit

    Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. It’s totally disgusting, sure, but it’s not as if people who tongue-kiss routinely keel over with gastro from the terrible alien spit. And urine is indeed sterile (OK, unless your urinary tract is dripping with fetid mould) and largely harmless. Some extremely independent thinkers have even managed to come to the conclusion that urine is good for you.

    So if people got sick from eating this food, either they only got sick because they found out it’d been contaminated and felt (perfectly justifiably) utterly grossed out, or there was something in the food beyond loogies and wee.

    Even “harmless” contamination of food is a real and serious offence, and people who do it should be punished accordingly, even if that guy who cut in line at your coffee shop really was a total douchebag.

    But this case smells funny.

  39. The_IT_Crone says:

    ONLY $40k?!

    It should be $40k from the manager ALONE who didn’t alert the family. Then another $40k from the brat that did it.

    Then a million from the company itself.

    Then ten million to the police department.

    /figuring that only 40% of any of that will actually go to the poor guy’s family

  40. rdldr1 says:

    Dont hate on KenTacoHut!

  41. mariospants says:

    Hi FCK – sorry “KFC” – just a little note to inform you that after hearing one too many stories of this nature, myself and my family of 5 will never, ever purchase food from a KFC again. And I’m passing this story on to my friends and family, too.

  42. satoru says:

    It seems odd to me since urine is sterile so you won’t get any microbial contaminants there. Spit can have things but to get dehydration and gastrointenstinal problems you’d have to already be infected with something pretty nasty. The only probable way this would happen is if perhaps the kids had some immune system problems that would not have affected the host.

    I think this is a problem with correleation and causation. Not to say that doing what they did was appropriate. I’m just saying that there is no causal relationship between the tainted food and the kids getting sick. I’d be more inclined to consider this plausable if the food they gave the cop was old or spoiled food.

  43. Parting says:

    @battra92: It’s not acceptable. You should read this waiter’s blog, it’s very interesting. Basically, what he wrote, is a warning, since there is a lot of assholes in food industry and you never know when you’ll get one waiting your table.

  44. satoru says:

    I’m not sure why people think $40k isn’t a lot of money. To be honest they should be happy they got $40k as such a sum is pretty reasonable and unlikely to be overturned in appeals. Juries love to give out stupid sums of money in these case, but the reality is they actually hurt the plaintiffs because sums that are way over the top, are always rejected on appeals.

    Considering people who are actually dying of lung cancer from cigarettes got a few million, it doesn’t seem reasonable that this family should be getting a multi-million settlement as the remedy doesn’t reflect the actual damages incurred.

  45. timsgm1418 says:

    @kathyl: I agree, the employee should have been fined more than $100, the store itself fined enough to hurt, and KFC in general fined. Management screwed up, when the other employees told him/her the food should have been trashed immediately and the employee fired.

  46. satoru says:

    On a side note when did the “American Dream” become winning a multi-million lawsuit from a corporation? You deserve ‘appropriate’ compensation, not a blank check. It’s exactly this kind of pervasive attitude that makes our health care so expensive, due to sky rocketing malpractice insurance and other factors.

    Stop thinking you ‘deserve’ it, try earning it instead.

  47. kantwait says:

    Urine is definitely not sterile!!! You can have a urinary tract infection or white blood cells, or any other number of things in your urine. Not to mention that it mixes with whatever bacteria you have on the outside of your body when it exits your system. Definitely a real possibility of getting really sick, especially children as this story illustrates. And gastroenteritis is nothing to sneeze at; people often re-infect themselves because the bacteria/virus doesn’t leave your system for a while even after you feel better, so you can be sick off and on for a long time (happened to me at the beginning of the year and was not fun at all).

  48. chrisjames says:

    @satoru: The good thing about numbers is that there are a lot of them between $40,000 and $1,000,000. A million dollar judgement is too far, but quite a bit of $40,000 can go towards the hospital bills and lawyer fees. Now KFC is saying they shouldn’t have to accept responsibility. To me, that means it’s time to roll out the punitive damages carpet and walk them right back to court. The money doesn’t have to go to the family, even though they should be compensated appropriately for eating a stranger’s waste while an entire building of KFC employees watched, but that’s up to a judge. However, KFC corporate should at least be fined for this.

    Or were they already fined, too?

  49. edro says:

    There are no punitive damages allowed in Nebraska

  50. bbagdan says:

    If urine and spit caused immediate violent illness, I don’t think people would be able to have sex.

    What a load of crap. I’m glad it was a cop.

  51. chrisjames says:

    @edro: What about in Kentucky?

  52. P_Smith says:

    Did this happen to any other customers (i.e. civilians), or just this one family?

  53. angela says:

    How sick! I guess TacoBell and KFC is off of my list of places to eat.. $40k is not enough! The family should get more. I am glad that Illinois allow punitive damages.. The charges against him should have been asult… The jerk got off. I am sure he is on the local police department special list.

  54. Peeved Guy says:

    @bbagdan: Wow, I’m suprised it took this long for the cop haters to pipe up.

    “If urine and spit caused immediate violent illness, I don’t think people would be able to have sex.”

    OK…
    1) maybe sex with the worker wouold have caused immiate and violent illness
    2) I think I could have sex just fine without “urine and spit”, thnk you.

  55. trujunglist says:

    @cashmerewhore:

    I think the article mentioned that the employees at the place had a “special” stash just for cops that come in and want food. To me, that means the food has been prepared far in advance and possibly hidden under a table or something and only brought out when an employee sees a cop. So, although urine is pretty sterile and it’s unlikely that you’d get ill from someone’s spit, if it’s been festering in a rat-infested kitchen for more than an hour, you’re probably not going to be feeling too great afterwards.

  56. rockasocky says:

    Gross. Totally uncalled for by the employee… it’s not like the officer was trying to order a “liter of cola” or something like that.

  57. edro says:

    @chrisjames: I don’t know if punitive damages are allowed in Kentucky, I’m from Nebraska (the other side of the state from Sydney, Nebraska). Perhaps there is a lawyer on here from Kentucky who would know the answer.

  58. lingum says:

    It would be wonderfully poetic if Casey Diedrich were found dead in an alley, fatally sodomized with nightstick.

    • stapler2025 says:

      @lingum:

      An update on Casey, he lives with a girlfriend who is currently married, he’s legally married right now (divorce is filed) and still has no job to this day.

      He drinks, hes addicted to pot/meth and does nothing but play PS2 all day.

  59. forgottenpassword says:

    I read from an article linked from reddit the other day that these employees kept a container of contaminated food set aside for cops/people they wanted to get back at.

  60. forgottenpassword says:

    Also…. just wanted to note. If I were police officer…. I would NOT eat at any place staffed by mostly teens. A lot of teens hate cops & a lot of cops target teens on purpose.

  61. rellog says:

    @edro: Fuck Nebraska. It sounds like a back ass state that should be dropped off the country. $100 fines for this type of transgression, no punitive damages and a douche like Chuck Hagel… I will never go to that state…

  62. varro says:

    @satoru: $40K for this is pretty generous – even with the attorney’s usual 1/3 cut.

    Then again, the employees of those restaurants have made themselves into honorary black people for the rest of their lives with all the profilin’ the Sidney PD will do to them.

    (Went to Arby’s in Sidney once…)