PHILADELPHIA (CN) – KFC is not liable to a customer who was pistol-whipped by the cashier for mulling which side dishes to get with his chicken special, a federal judge ruled.
Edward Harris says he ordered a 10-piece bucket of chicken at a KFC in Philadelphia on Oct. 3, 2007, but had not decided what sides to get along with the biscuits.
Another cashier, Michael Henry, then interrupted the order and told Harris to “hurry up,” according to Harris’ deposition testimony.
Harris says he replied, “No, I am not dealing with you,” but that the employee who had been taking his order backed away when the altercation became more heated.
Henry asked, “Well, do you want the fucking chicken or not,” then muttered, “I will kick your ass,” according to the deposition.
Harris says Henry then took out a gun and held it under the countertop.
The customer allegedly reacted by throwing up his hands, saying, “What? You going to shoot me over a bucket of chicken?”
As Harris headed for the exit, however, he turned around, and Henry hit him in the face with the gun.
Harris says he lost consciousness, broke his wrist, and needed eight stitches in the lip.
He sued KFC in September 2009, claiming the restaurant chain negligently hired Henry.
Had KFC done a criminal background check on Henry, it would have discovered arrests and convictions for possession of firearms, burglary, robbery and theft, Harris claimed.
But U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel sided with KFC at summary judgment this week.
“KFC would not have been aware of Henry’s propensity for violence even if it had a duty to conduct a background check,” the decision states.
“Here, Harris inaccurately contends that a background check would have revealed Henry’s ‘violent’ tendencies,” Stengel added. “The plaintiff highlights Henry’s ‘9 prior arrests for violent crimes’ as evidence in support of this position. With this assertion, the plaintiff puts forth a very liberal, if not outright false, interpretation of Henry’s criminal record. … Up until October 3, 2007 (the date Henry assaulted Harris), Henry’s criminal record shows that he was arrested four times – not nine times as the [sic] Harris asserts. Moreover, he was only convicted on two charges, neither of which was a ‘violent’ crime.” (Parentheses in original)
“There is no similarity between those prior convictions and the charges associated with this incident which would have caused this attack by Henry to be foreseeable to KFC,” the 16-page opinion states.