In September 2015, actress Tori Spelling filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Benihana for injuries she suffered after falling onto a hibachi grill. Finally, a trial date has been set. The last status conference is scheduled for June 27; the trial date for July 10.On April 5, 2015, Spelling and her family celebrated Easter Sunday with a trip to their local Benihana in Encino, California. According to an eyewitness at the time of the accident, Spelling, her husband, and her children were enjoying brunch when Spelling tripped and fell onto a hot Japanese style grill used to prepare food in front of the customers. “She got up to leave and tripped, falling backwards on to a scorching hot grill,” the source stated. “She shouted out in pain from a large burn on the back of her right arm.”
The suit claims Spelling suffered deep second and third degree burns. The then 42-year-old reportedly underwent a skin graft in the days following the accident. Spelling sued for the cost of hospital bills and financial loss from lost earning potential.
In it’s answer to the complaint, Benihana denied each and every allegation contained in Spelling’s complaint, pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 431.20, and further denied that Spelling was damaged in any way whatsoever. Benihana then asserted three affirmative defenses.
First, the restaurant claimed that that each of Spelling’s causes of action failed to state a claim. Second, it claimed that if Spelling suffered any damage as alleged, that the damage was legally caused and contributed to by Spelling failing to conduct herself in a manner ordinarily expected of a reasonably prudent person. Her contributory negligence, Benihana claimed, barred her recovery.
Finally, the restaurant claimed that if Spelling sustained any damage as alleged in the complaint, the damage was caused by someone other than defendant. Benihana claimed it would only be liable for the amount of non-economic damages allocated to it in direct proportion to its fault pursuant to California Civil Code section 1431.2.
Some speculate that the lawsuit is motivated by Spelling and her husband Dean McDermott’s financial struggles. As of November 2016, the couple owed almost $1 million in taxes, and McDermott’s son’s bank accounts were recently drained by the IRS as a result. Moreover, the couple failed to appear in court last month regarding a $200,000 lawsuit filed against them by a bank. Finally, McDermott is currently paying off $110,000 to his ex-wife in alimony and child support.
The trial in Spelling’s case against Benihana is currently set for July 10.
The personal injury lawyers at Neumann Law Group represent victims throughout the Los Angeles area. Call us at (213) 227-0001 for a free consultation.
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