McDonald's Customer Can't Sue Golden Arches For Attack By Spatula-Wielding Cashier

After 12 years of legal wrangling over an altercation between a customer and a McDonald’s employee, the Mississippi Court of Appeals has confirmed that the restaurant chain can not be sued over the fast food fisticuffs.

The plaintiff claimed that back in August 2000, she had gone to the McDonald’s drive-thru but after waiting for too long, she got upset, entered the restaurant and got into an argument with the cashier. She even admits to using that old chestnut, “Bitch, you need to need to get out of my face.”

That is apparently when the employee went and got a spatula, which she is alleged to have used, not for the flipping of burgers, but for the slapping upside the head of the angry customer.

The customer never filed assault charges against the employee nor was that employee named as a defendant in her lawsuit against McDonald’s, which fell apart when a judge issued a summary judgement in favor of the Golden Arches back in 2007. cites the following from that ruling:

It is unclear to the court the exact cause for plaintiff’s displeasure, whether the Big Mack (sic) was soggy, the fries limp, or the coffee cold, but in any event, plaintiff was unhappy and apparently voiced her annoyance to an employee who was engaged as a cashier… [The employee used the metal spatula] in a fashion contrary to its intended use or for which it was designed, but a use with which all mothers of young children are acquainted.

While we might disagree with that last point, the Court of Appeals nonetheless recently upheld the ruling.
“Based on the facts of this case, McDonald’s cannot be held liable for the actions of [the employee] under the doctrine of respondeat superior because McDonald’s was not a master or employer of [the employee involved in the altercation],” reads the panel’s ruling.

The panel even ruled that the franchisee that owned the McDonald’s in question was similarly not liable because the employee’s “act of hitting [the plaintiff] was motivated by personal animosity and anger, presumably from [being called] a ‘bitch,’ and [the employee] was never vested with any duty on that day other than working the cash register.”

McDonald’s Patron Beat With Spatula Loses Suit []

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.