Mr. Colaitis [the victim] had taken his family to Benihana to celebrate his son John Alexander’s birthday. The chef introduced himself and began cooking food on the grill, according to testimony. He began cutting and cooking shrimp and he flipped a piece at Mr. Colaitis’s brother-in-law, hitting him in the forehead. His next shrimp toss hit John Alexander in the arm, the family said. Mr. Colaitis’s son Christos would later say that the chef “was really bad at it and we told him to stop” several times. When the chef tossed a shrimp section at Mr. Colaitis, he jerked his head back violently to avoid it, Mr. Ferenzo [the plaintiff’s lawyer] said.
After the Benihana dinner, Mr. Colaitis began complaining of neck pain. He eventually underwent two spinal operations, contracted a severe infection and died on Nov. 22, 2001, at the age of 46. Mrs. Colaitis is suing Benihana for $16 million, mostly for pain and suffering and the loss of Mr. Colaitis’s earning potential.
I do hope that the plaintiff appeals; Palsgraf is long overdue for replacement in Torts casebooks as the leading case on proximate cause.