Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Jodee Berry, Ex Waitress Sues Hooters For Specific Performance of A New Toyota not a New Toy Yoda!
Regular poster Ron and his California entourage have requested a Legal Pub story on an old law suit out of Panama City. As I dusted off the moth balls, I wondered why they have so much interest in this "stale" litigation?
Panama City breeds a lot of interest, especially during the warm spring weather. But Jodee Berry, who was age 26 at the time, figured out a way to turn up the heat on a Hooters restaurant without changing the recipe of their hot wings. Jodee claimed that back in 2001, she was promised a new Toyota for winning a beer sales contest. But when her boss led her to the parking lot blindfolded, her prize was revealed to be a new toy Yoda ( little green Jedi master from Star Wars). Berry was hot! (No, upset. She claimed the promotion was a fraud. Berry's sad photo is courtesy of the A.P.)
Manager Jared Blair allegedly told the waitresses that this was a regional promotion contest and that the winner would be drawn from the names of the top 10 waitresses. (Jodee was nice looking, but was she really top ten? Ron and his entourage say yes, but Shell, Secret L.A. Reader and Ms. Calabaza blow her away!) In early May of 2001, Jared Blair allegedly informed Berry that she had won. Berry was blindfolded (no need for a bag to be placed over her head) and led to the parking lot where she was presented with the toy Yoda doll ($40.00 retail value.)
"A corporation can't lead their employees on like that...It's not good business ethics. They can't do that to people," Berry explained way back when. Berry quit a week later and we know little of her subsequent career path. However, Jodee apparently sued Gulf Coast Wings, owners of the restaurant, alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation seeking specific performance of a new Toyota car or the equivalent in money. Jodee was represented by Stephen West of Pensacola.
Jodee Berry dispelled rumors that she really had blond roots by explaining how she was tricked. Specifically, she apparently claimed that Blair misled the employees through the course of the contest by telling them that he didn't know what kind of Toyota it would be ... a car, truck or van. Blair also allegedly told her that the winner would be responsible for the taxes on the prize.
This 2001 incident, like most incidents which spawn lawsuits had two sides. Jared Blair apparently maintained that the whole thing was a big April Fools joke. Apparently, Berry and her attorney were not laughing as they settled the matter out of court in 2002. While the terms of the settlement were not publicized, it was believed to have allowed Berry to pick out the Toyota of her choice. David Noll apparently was one of the attorneys involved in negotiating the settlement. Apparently the settlement did not require complete confidentiality most likely because it generated so much attention in 2002 and still continues to generate interest as evidenced by Ron and his entourage's recent inquiry.
Update 11-25-11: Here is an interesting ethical question about the sale of "a Lincoln."
Connie: "How would you like a shiny new 2011 Lincoln for a quarter?"
Mark: "OK, here's my quarter."
Connie: [Gives Mark a shiny new 2011 Lincoln penny] "Ha ha, never said it was a car." LINK.