This morning I deposed a woman who seems to be the type of person who cannot have a hair out of place, who leads a most orderly sort of household. While discussing her injuries and damages, she was most dismayed that she could not perform housework during the period in which she claims to have been hurt, to cook for her perfect family, to tend to her flowers and lawn, in short to be there for her home and family at all times.
This woman and her two young children are suing a chain restaurant of the sort that has 65 mile per hour speed limit signs on the walls, neon signs for various beers, wood paneling, and ferns. The kind of place where youthful professionals go to laugh as they munch shrimp that's been brush-slathered with sticky yellow fluid, where employees constantly squeeze lemon wedges spraying juice in magnified detail, and every dish is served with colorful sauce combining incompatible flavors like teriyaki-chipotle. The sort of restaurant I'm not cool enough to patronize.
They claim food poisoning. There are problems with their case, many problems, but the pertinent problem is that one can suffer food poisoning from many sorts of food that aren't served in restaurants. One can suffer it from food cooked and served at home.
I took the deposition out of order. I decided, after getting preliminaries like her biography out of the way, to discuss damages first. Securing from her the facts mentioned above, specifically, that it's important to her that her children eat well and that the family eat good meals together, how dismaying it is to be unable to cook those meals, and the extreme emotional distress she suffered as a result.
We talked about the offending meal: the sandwich she ate; that her children each ate from that sandwich as well; that she brought the sandwich home as a leftover after three people managed to eat from it; and that she still has most of it, one year and ten months later, sitting in her refrigerator. "In case you need to conduct tests on it."
I respectfully declined her offer.
Our talk turned to meals eaten previously that weekend. We'd established the family custom of eating meals together, and that the family had been together all weekend. We'd established that she serves meat at every meal. And then she saw where I was going.
As it turns out, that weekend, unlike every other weekend, the family routine had changed. The kids ate on their own, potato chips and pop tarts and the like, while mom stayed in her bedroom, eating ice cream, and not potato chips and pop tarts. I inquired as to whether she'd been sick that weekend. Oh no, she was in perfect health. But it was a holiday weekend, and the kids decided to give mom some time off.
"For President's Day?"
"What's wrong with giving a mother time off for President's Day? Don't you have a mother?"
To be continued.