Veselka Sued After Bruncher Breaks Tooth

banana pancakes, veselkaAlexis Lamster

A few years ago, Jennifer Sanford was enjoying brunch with a friend at Veselka when she bit into, well, something that allegedly broke her tooth. The incident left a bad taste in her mouth: she recently filed a lawsuit against the Second Avenue standby.

According to Ms. Sanford’s lawyer, Michael F. Rubin, she was eating an egg breakfast when she bit down on something hard and spit it out into a napkin. Her tooth broke immediately. She called the manager over, the table was promptly bussed, and Ms. Sanford left.

“There is no way of knowing what it was, because the table wasn’t preserved,” Mr. Rubin said of the object in question.

Ms. Sanford’s broken tooth had to be replaced with an implant, her lawyer said. As a result of the surgery, a neighboring tooth was harmed and she must now have follow-up work done on that. “The poor lady is without her natural tooth,” he said.

photo(38)Nicole Guzzardi

Tom Birchard, owner of Veselka, said that while he wasn’t there on Oct. 25, 2009, when the incident occurred, he remembered it being taken care of by the restaurant’s insurance company. “I believe we took care of her dental bills at the time,” he said.

But Mr. Rubin said he didn’t think Ms. Sanford’s medical bills were paid. “It’s a case of negligence,” he said, “but not recklessness or malice.”

On the rare occasion when something like this happens, Mr. Birchard said, he does everything he can to ensure the incident is resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. “We serve a lot of food to a lot of people,” he said. “We do our best and this is very rare.” While the restaurant’s staffers remove pits from olives, bones from meat and shells from nuts, there is the rare occasion when something slips through their hands, he said. The only other incident resulting in a complaint of this magnitude that Mr. Birchard was able to recall came years ago when a diner bit down on a bone while eating corn beef hash.

“We don’t have a lot of control over these occasional, unfortunate circumstances,” he said. Mr. Birchard said he had informed his insurance company of the suit, filed Sept. 14, and it was handling the matter. “We are very interested in making sure we resolve this and that the lady is satisfied,” he said.