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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Cipriani Guest Has a Case for Swallowed Stick

(CN) - Cipriani, the exclusive Manhattan restaurant, must face claims from a woman who claims to have ingested a 1.5-inch shard of wood with her hors d'ouvres, an appeals court ruled.

Joan Jacobs Brumberg allegedly ate the hors d'oeuvres between 5:45 and 6:15 p.m. while attending a fundraiser sponsored by Cornell University at a Cipriani banquet hall. Cipriani has two locations in Manhattan, in Midtown and SoHo, as well as outposts in Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles and Miami.

Prior to the benefit, Brumberg had allegedly eaten only vegetarian pasta at 1 p.m.

At 6:45 p.m., Brumberg began to feel a sharp pain in her abdomen just above the navel. She sought medical attention that night and over the next two weeks, undergoing an X-ray, an ultrasound, a CAT scan and finally an endoscopy, which revealed the wooden shard. She later had two surgeries to repair the damage caused by the foreign object, according to the complaint.

A Tompkins County judge dismissed Brumberg's case after finding that she had not proved Cipriani caused her injuries. The Appellate Division Albany-based Third Judicial Department reversed on Oct 17.

Brumberg's expert testified that the wood was not from a toothpick or skewer used to serve the food, according to the ruling.

"Instead, it becomes similar to cases where an object unrelated to the food (such as glass or a tack) is found," Justice John Lahtinen wrote for the court (parentheses in original).

Cipriani had exclusive control over the hors d'oevres and should have found the object before the food was served, according to the ruling.

"Although the shard possibly could have been present when the ingredients for food were purchased from suppliers, it was not took small as too have been likely concealed and thus not visible upon careful preparation," lahtinen wrote.

As such Brumberg made a sufficient claim to overcome dismissal and she can proceed to trial, according to the ruling.

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