Court Rules That Man Who Burned Face While Praying Over Hot Fajitas Can't Sue Applebee's


A New Jersey man who burned his face after he leaned over a plate of hot fajitas to pray at a local Applebee's cannot sue the restaurant chain for damages because the danger was "open and obvious," according to a ruling issued by an appellate court Wednesday.

The man, Hiram Jimenez, sought damages from the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar in Westampton after the incident which took place in March 2010, but has unsuccessfully attempted to hold the restaurant liable, according to the Courier-Post.

Jimenez reportedly ordered fajitas that were placed in front of him in a "sizzling skillet." The ruling highlighted that Jimenez bowed his head "close to the table," and soon heard "a loud sizzling noise, followed by 'a pop noise' and then felt a burning sensation in his left eye and on his face."

Jimenez said he was burned on his face, neck and arms after "grease popped" on the fajitas in an incident report prepared for Appelebee's, added the Courier-Post. He argued in his lawsuit that a waitress who served him should've warned him that the dish was hot and that he suffered "serious and permanent" injuries "solely as a result of (Applebee's) negligence when he came in contact with a dangerous and hazardous condition, specifically, 'a plate of hot food.'"

An appellate court ruled Wednesday that Applebee's can't be held responsible because the hot food posed an "open and obvious" danger, and Jimenez leaned over the plate.

A trial judge had earlier dismissed Jimenez's lawsuit after stating that Applebee's, which has nearly 2,000 restaurants across the country, was not required to warn him about hot food because is "a danger that is open and obvious."

Jimenez appealed the ruling but the appellate court arrived at the same conclusion. Businesses are required to "discover and eliminate dangerous conditions, to maintain the premises in safe condition and to avoid creating conditions that would render the premises unsafe," the two-judge appellate panel argued.

The danger of the hot platter, however, was "self-evident" and Applebee's "had no duty to warn (Jimenez) that the food was sizzling hot and should be approached with due care."

The Christian Post reached out to Richard Wiener of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, an attorney for Jimenez, on Friday but there was no response.

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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