Marion County, Tenn. — Cracker Barrel has been ordered to pay $4.3 million to a man who was served liquid sanitizer instead of water at a location in Tennessee, but the restaurant chain won’t actually have to pay anything close to the full amount.
William Cronnon was expecting a glass of water at a Marion County Cracker Barrel in 2014. Instead, he got a nearly decade long court battle.
“Instead of taking personal responsibility and personal accountability for their conduct, they abused the court system by denying that they did anything wrong,” said his attorney, Thomas Greer.
Greer said Cronnon “has a lifetime of healthcare needs facing him in the future” after drinking a glass of sanitizer left in a water pitcher for cleaning.
The jury awarded Cronnon more than $4 million to help with the damage that remains in his throat and lungs, but he won’t receive anything close to that amount.
Tennessee lawmakers created a cap on economic damages in lawsuits back in 2011, which limits Cronnon to $750,000, even though he has extensive physical problems.
“So this is an unfair law that only affects people who are seriously injured,” Greer said. “And so he will not even receive what he is entitled to. He worked for three years after this. He’s a hard worker — he tried to maintain his job, but he had to retire early.”
Despite the decision, Cronnon’s attorney expects a future legal battle from the popular restaurant chain.
“They will likely appeal this verdict and continue to do everything in their power to avoid paying this man a penny,” Greer said. “And I’m prepared to continue fighting.”
For many local customers, like Xgabriel Lewis, a restaurant that holds many precious memories is now a cause for concern.
“Sanitizer ain’t water, you can kill somebody like that,” he said.
Cracker Barrel was asked if they made any changes after the incident.
The company responded in a statement that quote, “Our policy has been … and continues to be … to never put chemicals in any unmarked containers.”