Isa restaurant required to pay for a new jacket for a patron if they allege that they ripped it on a railing?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2012

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Isa restaurant required to pay for a new jacket for a patron if they allege that they ripped it on a railing?

A customer ate at a restaurant and claimed that a railing in the restaurant ripped a hole in his coat. The customer brought this to the attention of the manager a few days later. He wants the restaurant to pay $200, which he claims to be the price of the coat. The restaurant owner is suspicious of the claim. Is the customer’s claim/request reasonable? And should the owner of the restaurant comply?

Asked on January 3, 2012 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Why would the restaurant be liable? The mere fact that the customer's jacket was ripped at the restaurant does NOT, without more, impose liability. For there to be liability, there must be fault--e.g. the railing was so sharp as to be dangerous (so it's negligent to have it); there was a spill on the floor which the restaurant was aware of but did not clean, causing the customer to slip (again, negligence); a restaurant employee fell into or pushed the customer, causing the jacket to snag (so either negligence or a deliberate wrongful act); etc. Without some fault on the part of the restaurant, the fact that the damage was ripped at its premises would not make the restaurant liable.

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