Benihana Chef's Playful Food Toss Blamed for Diner's Death

A piece of grilled shrimp flung playfully by a Japanese hibachi chef toward a tableside diner is being blamed for causing the man's death. Making a proximate-cause argument, the lawyer for the deceased man's estate has alleged that the man's reflexive response -- to duck away from the flying food -- caused a neck injury that required surgery.

Complications from that first operation necessitated a second procedure. Five months later, Jerry Colaitis of Old Brookville, N.Y., was dead of an illness that his family claims was proximately caused by the injury. But for the food-flinging incident at the Benihana restaurant in Munsey Park, N.Y., Colaitis would still be alive, attorney Andre Ferenzo asserts.

"They set in motion a sequence of events," he said.

Alleging wrongful death, Colaitis' estate is seeking $10 million in damages. The complaint includes claims for pain and suffering and loss of consortium.

Sounds like a bit of a stretch to me. Can you say Palsgraf ? Details here from the New York Law Journal via