Cracker Barrel ordered to pay Tennessee man $4.3M after he was served dangerous chemicals
Jury orders Cracker Barrel to pay Tennessee man $4.3M after he drank dangerous chemicals (Getty Images)

MARION COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVC) –A jury in Marion County, Tennessee, has ordered the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain to pay a man millions of dollars after it ruled the company was at fault when he was served something besides the glass of water he had ordered.

The jury ruled last week in a case that started back in April of 2014.

That's when William Cronnon says he was served what he thought was a glass of water while eating lunch at a Cracker Barrel in Marion County.  

Court documents say he took a sip of what was in the glass, only to discover that it wasn't water.

In fact, it was a cleaning chemical known as Eco-San, which at the time the restaurant was using to clean its kitchen.

The National Fire Protection Assocation (NFPA) categorizes the chemicals in Eco-San as "extremely dangerous."

The ingestion caused serious physical injuries to Cronnon, burning his mouth and esophagus. The lawsuit says Cronnon is still suffering from these injuries today.

The original lawsuit asked Cracker Barrel to pay Cronnon $150,000 in damages.

But the jury ended up awarding him $3.6 million in non-economic damages and $730,000 in economic damages.

The jury found Cracker Barrel acted negligently, including a "failure to hire and properly train qualified and competent employees."

The lawsuit did not say who specifically served Cronnon the chemicals.

We reached out to Cracker Barrel for comment on this story, and received this email response:

"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. 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."

When asked what, if any, changes were made following this incident, Cracker Barrel responded with the following:

"Our policy has been, and continues to be, to never put chemicals in any unmarked containers." 

Read the lawsuit and the jury's findings below:

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