Some people are monomaniacal about food. They find an item they like and then won’t eat anything else. Maybe it’s hamburgers. Every day they eat hamburgers. Or maybe it’s fried chicken, Chinese, or Mexican food.
With Paul Ferguson, it’s pizza – or pizza restaurant chains. The former Provost Umphrey attorney is obsessed with pizza joints. We don’t know that he eats regularly, or even occasionally, at pizza places, or if he even likes pizza at all, but we do know he likes to sue pizza delivery boys, the restaurants they work for, and the companies that own the franchises.
It started with Domino’s. Back in 2013 Ferguson sued a delivery boy, the outlet he worked for, and the national chain on behalf of the estate of a married couple who were killed in a head-on collision with the delivery boy’s car on S. Major Drive in Beaumont. Ferguson argued that Domino’s was somehow responsible and the jury awarded $32 million to the estate.
This, despite the fact that the delivery boy was driving his own car and that the chain exercises no day-to-day supervision over franchisee operations.
The verdict was subsequently reversed and the Texas Ninth Court of Appeals dismissed Domino’s from the lawsuit, concluding that “the evidence is legally insufficient to support the jury’s finding that Domino’s controlled or had the right to control the details of the injury-producing acts or omissions of [the franchisee] and its employees.”
Ferguson seems to have lost his taste for Domino’s after that setback, but not for lawsuits against pizza chains. He’s going after Pizza Hut with two separate actions, each seeking more than $1 million in damages for automobile collisions allegedly caused by delivery boys on College Street and Fannett Road in Beaumont.
What makes Ferguson think he’s going to have better luck with his pizza suits this time at the trial and appellate levels?
And why is he obsessed with pizza? Could it be he just likes the dough?