KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Louisiana woman is suing the Applebee's (search) restaurant chain — a year after she allegedly found a human fingertip in her salad, echoing a similar but now-discredited claim against fast-food chain Wendy's.
May Deal Chambers Johnson (search) of Jefferson Parish, La., filed suit late Friday in Jefferson Parish District Court asking for unspecified damages. Johnson said she found the fingertip in a take-out salad she bought on June 25, 2004, at a Jefferson Applebee's and became violently ill.
Her attorney, Michael Darnell, said Johnson hasn't been able to eat out at restaurants since then and remains in counseling for "anxieties."
"It's been fairly disruptive," Darnell said. "It's been something ... she hasn't been able to let it go."
Darnell said he keeps the fingertip in his office freezer and described it as being the very tip of a finger plus some of the finger nail. He said Johnson didn't file suit earlier because they didn't know the extent of her medical and other damages.
Laurie Ellison, a spokeswoman for Overland Park, Kan.-based Applebee's International, said the company's policy is to not comment on pending litigation.
In March, Anna Ayala (search) of Las Vegas told police she found a fingertip in a bowl of chili at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose, Calif. Her story began to fall apart when investigators discovered Ayala had a history of filing suits against corporations and after a co-worker of Ayala's husband said he severed the tip of one of his fingers in an industrial accident and sold it to the husband.
DNA tests linked the fingertip to the man and Ayala has been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, attempted grand theft and grand theft.