A Country Club Sued Its Own Waiter For Spilling Wine on a Luxury Handbag

Man 1: “PYX 106, Quinn & Cantara.”

Man 2: It’s 1-800-LAW-1010, 1800law1010.com. Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti on the horn. Hey, Paul.
Paul: Good morning, guys.

Man 2: We got this story about a New Jersey country club that is being sued because a waiter spilled 30 grand on the handbag of one of their members. Now originally, and this is why we wanted to have you on, originally, the country club was being sued by the woman who was gonna sue the waiter, but they just took the waiter off the lawsuit. I wanted to know how common is that that companies sue their own employees?

Paul: Yeah, not very common at all. Normally, so you got this waiter, he’s pouring some wine and just trying to have a…pours it on this ridiculously expensive bag. They, you know, I guess, you know, the person who is a member of the club wants the bag, wants the money for the bag as you would suspect if you pulled your car up and someone hits your car. Right? But bringing the claim against the employee is really unprecedented. I don’t know what the theory was. It lasted about 48 hours and then decided to retract that cross-claim against the employee.

Man 3: I’m reading here that the lawyer for the woman says, “It has absolutely nothing to do with the waiter. We were not trying to collect any money from the waiter.”

Man 2: Was the club then trying to get out of this somehow by doing that, like, in this direction? Is there a legal angle there?
Paul: Anytime you have a cross-claim, you’re trying to kind of maybe not pay everything yourself but the couple defendants around you said, “Hey, we’re gonna bring you in, maybe we can kind of split this thing,” but I suspect that the waiter, you know, don’t know his situation, but probably not likely that he’s, you know, has $30,000 to shell out for a bag that he dripped some wine on. Just one of these weird legal decisions that sort of ended up making the, in this case, national news.

Man 2: So you just wonder if that would have set some precedent like if there’s an FCC violation here on the show, and “iHeartMedia” gets…has to pay the fine, like if then “iHeart” to come and say, “Take it right from us.” Because it was probably us who did it.

Man 3: No ketchup on the table. No, but I mean, that kind of thing.

Paul: Yeah, no that the law really says as an employee, you are going to be protected by your employer. If you are doing your job, and you do something to injure someone else, you’re actually covered under your employer, and you’re not a defendant. So not sure what happened here. It might just have been a case of just bad lawyering as they say. Or maybe he’s an ex-employee and maybe they were trying to see what they could do but just a bad move, it looks bad.

Man 3: I would say this. If you’re working for yourself, right, Paul? Get an umbrella policy, though, right?

Paul: If you are self-employed. Yeah. Got your own business, get all the insurance you can [crosstalk 00:02:42.362].

Man 2: And then you gotta set something up so that your business money’s over there.

Man 3: You don’t want that, because they’ll take everything if you don’t.

Man 2: Now, the other thing on…

Man 3: You cooperate.

Man 2: …the handbag is they’re questioning the authenticity. I know you played it off like you don’t know that handbag.

Man 3: Hermès.

Man 2: You probably do know that handbag, Paul. Do you think its an authentic Hermès?

Paul: We do not own any Hermès, which I believe is to pronunciate, in the Harding household, no. I’ve seen it like…

Man 2: At my house we just call them Hermès.

Woman: Hello, darling.

Man 3: It’s Hermès you call them, right? I’m just looking on Hermès handbags. I mean, I know they’re expensive, $140,000 for one of them right here.

Man 2: Well, this one was actually 30, 30 grand.

Man 3: Sixty-eight grand.

Man 2: Well for good lawyering, call Paul Harding at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, okay?

Man 3: 1-800-LAW-1010, 1800law1010.com, Paul Harding. Thanks, Paul.

Man 2: Thanks, Paul.

Paul: Nice talking to you guys. Bye-bye.