One cold February morning, a police officer we’ll call Officer George ordered a breakfast sandwich at his local bagel shop. What Officer George didn’t know was that his sandwich was prepared that day by someone from his past. Back in the kitchen, a lowly cook named Ralph was lurking. See, when Officer George walked in that day, Ralph instantly recognized him as the cop who had hassled him recently after pulling him over. The mischievous wheels in Ralph ’s head began turning.
As the officer sat down to eat, he was blissfully unaware of the coincidence. But his innocent cluelessness only lasted a few bites. To his supreme disgust, the officer found what appeared to be hair pubic hair nestled deep within his sandwich.
No stranger to getting to the bottom of a crime, Officer George instantly began investigating. As a cop, his recourses were vast, and he was able to conduct a DNA test on the hair. The tests proved that they came from Ralph, and soon thereafter the crooked cook pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. He was put in jail for 15 days, and given two years probation.
But Officer George didn’t stop there. He sued the deli itself, claiming that it was careless in hiring such a troublemaker, to begin with, and then for not adequately supervising him. Further, he argued that, under New Jersey law, businesses that serve food are liable if that food is in any way contaminated.
Worst of all claimed the officer, the traumatizing event had a negative effect on his reputation. Since the incident was covered by the local news, he had widely become known as the cop who ate pubic hair. That kind of “stigma” demanded compensation, Officer George argued.
The case settled out of court. The deli paid the cop $13,750. That’s not exactly a huge settlement. Still, I guess Officer George won by a hair.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to convey my office’s solidarity with all our friends, clients and neighbors who have suffered so much as a result of the recent storm damage. Hang in there. Our prayers are with you.