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Man Offered $150k for Exploding Jar of Fruit

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the fruit-pop dept.

The Almighty Buck 30

Darryl Alexander of Southfield, Mi. claims that a lid from an exploding jar of Del Monte fruit knocked him unconscious. Since this is an unacceptable way to get one of your 2-4 recommended daily servings, he decided to sue Del Monte and Kroger where he bought the explosive jar. Both companies deny any responsibility but have offered the sore jawed Alexander $150k to settle the suit. "It happened so fast. I just had no time to react. ... I staggered, lost consciousness and fell to the floor. I eventually screamed for my wife," he said.

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30 comments

Good thing it was only fruit... (1)

BC_R3 (1942996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34270644)

Could you imagine the danger had it been a jar of pickles or God forbid contain red 40!

Shopping anyone? (2, Funny)

King_Leonidas (1943050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34270890)

Anyone else think it's time to stock up on Del Monte and hope it somehow hurts you. I'll even take a minor injury i think that's worth at least 50,000.

Re:Shopping anyone? (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34286676)

Its because of men like this that future jars of fruit may contain the warning '' please do not try to forcibly remove the lid with a screw driver while holding this jar next to your eyeball ''.

Re:Shopping anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34292134)

Fine. I'll remember not to do that . . . anymore.

Trying to prevent a McDonald's coffee job... (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34271070)

This is trying to cover medical and time off work, plus a little, in an effort to prevent a repeat of the McDonald's coffee debacle. The man can prove that he was injured, and the jar contributed to his injuries. Del Monte and Kroger are just trying to prevent a PR nightmare with a relatively small (for the companies involved) sum of cash.

Phil

Re:Trying to prevent a McDonald's coffee job... (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34286842)

I think they should have fought it. Yes, sometimes it sucks when lawsuits come and people can't afford to go to court with it, sometimes, like this time, the person is so retarded to where they deserve nothing, and it shows the retards that you can't up and sue for everything. If they wanted to, there would be no way he could even begin to keep up with court costs against Kroger. All it would take is seeing if the bottle actually had opening directions or "do not shove bottle in your eyeball hole" precautions. You can google it to confirm, but that is like the robber that hurt himself when inside a house he broke into, so he sued the person whose house he broke into, and he won.

Re:Trying to prevent a McDonald's coffee job... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34306360)

Claiming permanent vision damage also. I'm not sure how much I'd pay to avoid permanent vision problems, but probably more than $150K.

Bloody idiot. (3, Informative)

srodden (949473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34276218)

Man heats a bottle, hits it with a hammer then blames someone else? Why did the judge not say "sod off, you leech"? Modern litigation-crazy America, this is why we hate you :-(

Re:Bloody idiot. (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34283404)

He hit it with the handle of a screwdriver. Regardless, I wouldn't recommend hitting a jar with anything. Tapping, maybe.

Re:Bloody idiot. (1)

srodden (949473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34285084)

My point exactly. He tried to open the bottle in a manner other than prescibed by the manufacturer and when it went wrong he's blamed someone else.

If I trip over when I'm walking down the street due to an uneven pavement, I pick myself up and keep on walking. I don't immediately start looking for someone to sue!

If someone idiot had left a cable draped across the walkway then that's a different story.

Re:Bloody idiot. (2, Insightful)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34292646)

Man heats a bottle, hits it with a hammer then blames someone else? Why did the judge not say "sod off, you leech"?

Modern litigation-crazy America, this is why we hate you :-(

This used to be the worst thing about America. Now it's probably the least worst thing.

Re:Bloody idiot. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309408)

That's not what happened, judging from TFA. He ran it under warm water, a common technique to open stuck jars, the goal being to heat up the lid to make it expand a little and not be so tight (or maybe heat up the interior of the jar to increase the pressure, making the lid easier to take off). He hit the lid with the rubber end of a screwdriver, another common remedy (I guess the idea is to break the seal on the lid and allow the inside of the jar to equalize with the outside). I've done the same thing before dozens of times and in fact usually use the metal butt of a butterknife. It has -never- resulted in the lid shooting off and into my eye.

You make it sound like he had it heating on a stovetop and then smashed it with a hammer and then got cut by glass. "Heating" it with a stove would increase the pressure inside the jar, and hitting that with a hammer would be stupid.

Somehow the pressure inside the jar was a lot higher than the outside. That's usually the opposite of what you find. I've heard anerobic bacterial contamination can result in increased pressure in the jar (maybe that's the reason for the popup tab). If that's the case, then the company could genuinely be responsible.

Or maybe the guy was lying about what happened. Who knows. Either way, judging a court case as being stupid from just one or two paragraphs is, in my opinion, stupid.

Re:Bloody idiot. (1)

srodden (949473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34311894)

And this is exactly why I'm not a federal judge! The point about bacterial infection/pressure is a good one that I had not considered.

I actually understood what he'd done, even if my words seemed more critical.

Still, regardless of what's a "common remedy", I would not award damages to someone who'd used a method other than prescribed to open a can who had then suffered in some way as a result.

Re:Bloody idiot. (1)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34315698)

Just a quick note: does a jar of del monte fruit actually have opening instructions? If not how can there be a prescribed manner of opening? I would say the prescribed manner in such a case would be any manner used by any non-trivial number of people. Such as running warm water over it and tapping the edge of the lid (which a LOT of people do to open stuck jars).

Re:Bloody idiot. (1)

srodden (949473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34315756)

I have no idea. I've never bought del Monte fruit.
But I have seen packets of food that have a warning label that says "Caution: Contents will be hot after heating" and on a packet of peanuts, "Caution: Contains Nuts".

Re:Bloody idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34371454)

Modern litigation-crazy America, this is why we hate you :-(

Eat my ass, you pompous limey twat.

Infection! (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34278712)

Actually, its well known some types of food contaminations can create gases within its storage vessel. Cans are well known to bloat and distort in shape. If its a glass container it can burst or "explode" fairly forcefully since it can't give until critical failure. Handling such a container is likely to encourage structural failure if its already near the breaking point.

If the guy is simply not attempting to commit fraud with his claim, its very likely the food was contaminated with something. If so, its possible the exploding container saved his life.

Re:Infection! (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279436)

I once had a container of yoghurt swell up after leaving it in the fridge for weeks.

Who knew I could have had a potential cash cow on my hands. I can see it now, 'Mans yoghurt explodes in womans face...'

Re:Infection! (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34283364)

I can see it now, 'Mans yoghurt explodes in womans face...'

That sound like a bad porno selling point.

Re:Infection! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34296582)

Actually, its well known some types of food contaminations can create gases within its storage vessel. Cans are well known to bloat and distort in shape. If its a glass container it can burst or "explode" fairly forcefully since it can't give until critical failure. Handling such a container is likely to encourage structural failure if its already near the breaking point.

If the guy is simply not attempting to commit fraud with his claim, its very likely the food was contaminated with something. If so, its possible the exploding container saved his life.

first off, there are two groups of micro here: spoilage organisms and pathogens. it is more than likely the former which created this situation (if, as you stated he did not simply fake it). pathogen organisms (esp botulism) wont create this effect -- they don't tend to make themselves known. there is no way he would have not noticed that the food smelled TERRIBLE, and would not have consumed it even if the container didnt explode.

also, there is no reason to believe that this happened at the manufacturer level. who is to say he didnt drop the jar/can at his home and that is what damaged the hermetic seal leading to the organism growth. could have also happened during storage/distribution/retail. absolutely ridiculous that this amount of money was paid out.

if there was a valid issue here with the process, the product should have been recalled by the FDA.

Re:Infection! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34326072)

i was in the US Navy on a submarine. I've seen MANY cans that had pressure in them and were bulging out from spoilage. The trick was to give to a newbie to open and then walk away and wait for the noise, rotten smell and eventual reappearance of the newbie covered in the rotting product begging for someone to let him change clothes and take a shower.

Laws of Physics? (2, Insightful)

echucker (570962) | more than 3 years ago | (#34297358)

The guy claimed the lid came off with enough force to render him unconscious. Considering the lids to those jars weigh probably 10g at most, how fast would it have to travel to hit him hard enough to be knocked out? I'm betting at least a few hundred m/s. Wanna bet that the force required to propel the lid at such a velocity already would have blown the glass jar into shards long before he tried to open it?

Re:Laws of Physics? (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34303192)

It hit him in the eye. Shock and pain alone could have made him pass out. It doesn't have to be sheer physical trauma.

Glass can be pretty strong when under tension so long as the force is applied evenly up until the part where everything fails.

Re:Laws of Physics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331788)

Anyone else sensing an upcoming mythbusters experiment?

Re:Laws of Physics? (1)

bart416 (900487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337134)

Well, quick google search indicates you need about 300kg to knock somebody out. In other words about 3000 newton. So lets leave acceleration out of the question at first and simply look at the pressure required to generate such a force. Lets assume the jar has a 5cm radius. So the surface area of the lid would be about 0.0078 cm^2 in other words (don't have a calculator at hand so could make mistakes on the math). And since pressure is force on surface area we can assume it'll take about 3.8 bar of pressure. Its not impossible for the glass to contain that pressure. But I really doubt the lid would stay on the jar. And we all love F=m*a right? Well yeah, to apply that amount of force it'd need to be accelerating at 300000 m/s^2 ... So yeah, this is pretty stupid, I think they left out some piece of information in the story.
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