In November of 2016, a woman claimed she nearly bit into a dead rodent baked into her Chick-fil-A sandwich. Today, her lawyer is seeking $50,000 for the "physical and psychological injuries" she's endured since the incident, according to Philly.
Philadelphia woman Ellen Manfalouti said she was ready to dig into her chicken sandwich on a lunch break when she "felt something funny on the bottom of the bun."
"I turned it over," she told Philly. "I said to [my coworker], 'They burned my roll really bad,'" throwing it onto the table.
That's when her coworker, Cara Phelan, realized the mysterious object in Manfalouti's bun was not a burnt spot, but a rodent.
"I could see the whiskers and the tail," she said.
Manfalouti's lawyer, Bill Davis, recently filed a lawsuit against the owner of the franchise (and the store itself) that sold the sandwich, as both parties had for months "stonewalled" his attempts to resolve the issue. The restaurant chain pushed the blame onto the franchise, which blamed the bun-supplying bakery, which denied responsibility.
Both the owner and Chick-fil-A declined Philly's requests for information during the ongoing investigation.
Davis conducted a lab report to confirm that Manfalouti's sandwich indeed contained a rodent that had likely been baked into the bun. The team's lawsuit says the defendants were negligent and "failed to have proper procedures in place to inspect their own food products before selling them to customers."
The bulk of their defense, though, stems from the "nausea," trouble eating and "anxiety" Manfalouti claims to have sustained over the last nine months. She went to a medical center the day she nearly ate the rodent-rich sandwich. She later was given a prescription for her nausea and saw a psychologist for her anxiety.
"I had anxiety and nightmares, which I still do," she said. "The first month was really rough."
While many people do indeed have legitimate and debilitating fears of rodents, it's possible that Manfalouti may have exaggerated her rat-related trauma to win the case. Some readers humorously pointed out the irony of her complaints.
"Eating a dead animal, yet complaining about eating a dead animal," one reader commented on Philly's article. Others gave this observation the thumbs up, noting that in many cultures, cooked rodents are a fine delicacy.
"And it was still better than the McRib," another commenter said of the rat sandwich.
"Eat More Rodent," a business-savvy user offered as the chain's new slogan.
Someone had Manfalouti's back, though.
"Hey. I am scared to death of rodents. I go full panic attack when one is around, let alone if one was in my sandwich. This is very traumatic for some of us LOL," they wrote.