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Unpopped Kernels Reasonably Expected

October 1, 2008

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An insurance agent visited his local movie theater in Manhattan and bought a bag of popcorn on his way to his seat. Halfway through the movie and halfway through his bag of popcorn, he broke a tooth on an unpopped kernel. When the theater owner declined to pay his $1,200 dental bill, he filed suit. In Kaplan v. American Multi-Cinema, Inc, the court awarded summary judgment to the movie theater, explaining that in cases involving objects imbedded in food (bones in a fish fillet, walnut shells in a cheese sandwich, etc.), the analysis used in New York is a "reasonable expectation" test. The court ruled that, alas, one must reasonably expect that not all kernels will pop. To avoid a popcorn injury one should perhaps "resist the urge to devour the bag by the handful in favor of a more cautious nibbling by the piece."

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