A Tallmadge, Ohio, man is suing McDonald’s, claiming he got something extra he didn’t order in his milkshake — a live mouse.
Kenneth Moyer Jr. is seeking $100,000 or more in his lawsuit filed this week in Summit County Common Pleas Court against an Akron McDonald’s and Rubber City Arches, which owns 24 of the fast-food restaurants in Northeast Ohio.
“The bottom line is: It’s nasty and it’s wrong,” Moyer, 43, a construction worker, said Tuesday. “However it got in there, it was wrong.”
McDonald’s, however, claims Moyer’s allegations are false.
“Although we do not typically comment about pending litigation, we can confidently and adamantly state that the implications made in the complaint are wildly fabricated and false,” Carl Blickle, co-owner of Rubber City Arches, said in an email. “We have served the Akron area for over 55 years, have made safety and cleanliness top priorities and remain proud of our track record. We eagerly await our opportunity to share the facts in court.”
Blickle declined to comment further.
This isn’t the first time the fast-food giant has had a mouse complaint. A Maine man sued in 2014, claiming he found a dead mouse in his milkshake. A teen girl in England last year said she found part of a dead baby mouse in her McChicken sandwich — a discovery an employee claimed was veins instead of a tail. And, in a similar rodent claim, an NFL coach and his family filed a lawsuit in Texas in 2006, saying they discovered a dead rat in their salad.
Before this happened, Moyer said he was a frequent McDonald’s customer, often stopping just to get a drink.
Moyer said he went through the drive-thru at the McDonald’s at 2021 E. Market St. about 1:15 p.m. Dec. 15 and ordered two chocolate milkshakes, one for himself and another for a friend. As he sipped on his milkshake while driving his friend home, he said he noticed the straw kept getting clogged.
“I got irritated with the straw clogged up,” he said. “I really wasn’t thinking about it.”
After Moyer dropped off his friend, he said he drove home and left the rest of his shake — about one-quarter — in his work truck. He said he went inside and then returned to retrieve his cigarettes a few minutes later.
As Moyer began to shut the truck door, he said he saw the straw moving. He said he picked up the cup and saw a live mouse inside. He yelled for his girlfriend to come outside and told a friend who called a short time later what happened.
Moyer said he was ill and vomited frequently for the rest of the day. He returned to the same McDonald’s about 11:30 p.m. and asked the manager whether a mouse could fit through the hole in the ice cream machine. The manager said this wouldn’t be possible because the hole is so small and suggested that Moyer put the mouse in the cup himself.
Moyer called McDonald’s headquarters to complain the next day. He said the woman he spoke with offered him either gift cards or to file an insurance claim. He requested the claim, telling her he won’t be frequenting McDonald’s any longer.
McDonald’s denied Moyer’s claim.
Moyer said at the advice of the attorney who assisted him with the insurance claim he froze the mouse and the cup. The attorney sent the mouse and cup to a consulting company to have testing done.
Christina Joliat, a Solon attorney now representing Moyer, said she plans to get the testing results from the consulting company. She said she isn’t sure what tests were done.
Joliat thinks the claim was likely denied because Moyer mistakenly said that he left the cup unattended in his truck for an hour or more. She said he now realizes the time was much shorter — 10 minutes at the most — because of when he spoke with his friend.
“There’s no way it was there for an hour unattended,” she said.
Joliat said she wants to obtain surveillance video from McDonald’s that she hopes will show how the mouse got into the cup.
“We want the video,” she said. “We want to see what happened. That will clear everything up.”
Moyer claims in the lawsuit that he suffered “physical and mental distress and damage due to the negligent or purposeful conduct” of McDonald’s employees. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees.
The case has been assigned to Judge Amy Corrigall Jones.
Joliat and Moyer provided the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com with two photos they claim were taken of the mouse in the cup. The first photo shows the side of a clear McDonald’s cup with a domed lid and only a small amount of liquid and an indistinct brown blob in the bottom of the cup. The second photo, taken from the top of the cup, shows a mouse in the bottom beside the straw.
Joliat said she believes Moyer’s account of what happened and said he has been concerned about possibly contracting a disease from drinking the milkshake.
“He’s a pretty believable guy,” she said. “He looks ill talking about it.”
Moyer said he didn’t put the mouse in the cup and doesn’t think it was in his truck and climbed into the cup. He said he hopes the lawsuit will prompt McDonald’s to look at its practices to see if something needs to be changed to prevent a repeat of what happened.
Moyer said this experience has caused him to be more careful before he takes a bite of food or a sip of a drink. He advises others to do the same.
“Keep your eyes open when you go to fast food,” he said. “Nowadays, it’s awful!”