Customer trips over buffet drawer at restaurant, suffers severe head injury

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 30, 2012, 7:44am

TYLER - A customer at a buffet-style restaurant has filed a lawsuit claiming that he has permanent neurological problems as a result of tripping over an open drawer.

William Ross filed suit against Presson Restaurants Inc., doing business as Ranchero Country Buffet on April 16 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.

The incident occurred on April 17, 2010, while Ross was a customer at the Ranchero Country Buffet in Mineola.

According to the suit, Ross was going through the buffet line and had completed his selections when he turned to walk towards a table. He states that while his back was turned, an employee had opened the drawer beneath the buffet to remove supplies. Ross turned to walk towards the table and claims he tripped over the open drawer and fell.

Ross fell and his head struck the buffet counter, the suit states. He was transported by ambulance from the scene for further treatment.

Ross claims that he has permanent residual neurological deficits as a result of his injuries.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to adequately warn Ross of the condition and for failing to make the condition safe. The restaurant is also accused of negligence for failing to have adequate policies and procedures concerning the opening of storage areas beneath the buffet line so as not to create a safety hazard for customers.

The plaintiff is asking the court for an award of damages for medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, physical impairment, and court costs.

Ross is represented by Jeffrey T. Embry of Hossley & Embry in Tyler. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:12-cv-00271

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