On second thought, maybe a consumer warning is needed…

Two posts I recently wrote discussed an incident in which a Taos woman sued the local McDonald’s for injuries she suffered when a toilet paper dispenser detached from the wall of her stall and struck her in the head. She claimed she merely tugged on the roll of toilet tissue when the device turned into a flying projectile.

The suit was ultimately dismissed. I noted in my blog that a previous lawsuit against McDonald’s involving a spilled cup of hot coffee resulted in a large settlement and consumer warnings on coffee cups about the dangers of hot beverages. I concluded that we probably would not be seeing similar warnings about the dangers of flying toilet paper dispensers.

However, it may be time to reconsider. A long-time friend, business colleague and someone I consider to be my career mentor (he taught me the value of patience, remaining calm and putting things into proper perspective) mentioned a similar incident that occurred at our place of business many years ago. It seems that a renter in our building sought damages for a similar injury he claimed happened in a common bathroom. It turned out that in this case, there was a modest settlement. My friend noted that our business “wound up paying something just to get rid of it (the nuisance suit),” my friend noted.

So maybe we do need consumer warnings on toilet paper dispensers. In the interest of protecting citizens from themselves, I am proposing the following consumer alert to be posted on all toilet paper dispensers in public buildings:

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