Cracker Barrel Told to Pay $9.4M to Man Who Was Served Toxic Chemicals

  • Cracker Barrel was ordered to pay $9.4 million to a man who was accidentally served toxic chemicals. 
  • The settlement was reached years after the man first alleged that he had suffered severe injuries.
  • But due to Tennessee laws, he will likely not receive the full amount, per a local news outlet

Cracker Barrel was ordered to pay $9.4 million to a Tennessee man who sued the restaurant chain after he was served a chemical cleaning agent instead of water. 

Despite the settlement, the claimant, William Cronnon, may not receive the total amount due to laws related to damages in the state.

The legal case had been ongoing for many years after the incident, which occurred in April 2014 at a branch in Marion County.

A settlement was finally reached this month, according to Bailey and Greer, the law firm that represented Cronnon.

He had been eating lunch at the Cracker Barrel branch when a waitress refilled his glass with what she thought was water. After taking a sip, he felt a “burning sensation in his mouth and esophagus,” the lawsuit stated

It was later discovered that the contents Cronnon were served were in fact a mixture of water and Eco-San, a chemical solution Cracker Barrel uses to clean its kitchen area. 

Cronnon suffered “severe permanent injuries,” including “regular cramping, bloating diarrhea, and reflux pain after meals,” his lawyer stated in a press release. He also “lost wages and future earning capacity,” according to the lawsuit. 

In response to the verdict, Cracker Barrel said in a statement to Insider: “While we have great respect for the legal process, we are obviously disappointed by and strongly disagree with the jury’s award in this case, which involved an unfortunate and isolated incident that occurred at one of our stores eight years ago.” 

It added: “Although we are considering our options with respect to this verdict, we are glad this matter is behind us so we can better focus on caring for our guests and employees around the country.” 

Cronnon’s lawyer, Thomas Greer, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

On January 6, Cronnon reached an agreement with the restaurant for the $9.4 million settlement. According to local news station WTVC News Channel 9, however, it is likely he will not receive the full amount due to a statutory cap that Tennessee asserts on noneconomic damages.

Under Tennessee law, only up to $750,000 in noneconomic damages can be recovered. 

“This is an unfair law,” Attorney Thomas Greer told the station. “He will not receive anything close to what he is entitled to.”

Cronnon could not be reached by Insider for comment. 

Other retailers, including Walmart and a Florida-based nail salon, have also recently been ordered to make large payouts to injured customers. In December, the grocery giant was ordered to pay $10 million to a woman who said she stepped on a rusty nail while shopping and lost part of her leg. 

In the same month, Tammy’s Nails 2 in Tampa paid $1.75 million to a woman whose leg was amputated after a pedicure led to a severe infection.