Cell Phone Photo of Condom Found in Soup

Cell Phone Photo of Condom Found in Soup (Courtesy: Philip Hodousek)

SANTA ANA -- A Mission Viejo man is suing an Orange County based restaurant chain after he says he found a condom in a bowl of french onion soup.

According to court documents filed Tuesday, Philip Hodousek and his wife, Sherry, along with their eighteen year old daughter went to the "Claim Jumper" restaurant in Mission Viejo to enjoy an Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 12, 2009.

Hodousek says they ordered drinks, appetizers and a couple of main courses from the server. Among the items ordered was a bowl of french onion soup.

After the server brought the soup to the table, Hodousek says he immediately began eating the cheese which was spread across the top portion of the bowl.

As he ate the soup, he felt what he believed was a tough piece of cheese on the side of his mouth. When he couldn't chew it into pieces, he told his family that it felt like rubber, according to the court filing.

Hodousek says he spit it out into his napkin, at which time his wife said, "Oh my God, it's a condom."

After speaking with the server, the restaurant's general manager, Marc Hadley, came over to the table and explained that the item was a rubber glove used by employees to prepare food and apologized, the documents say.

After further inspection, it was clear the item was not a rubber glove, but clearly a condom, Hodousek says.

Hadley reportedly said he had "never seen anything like this." Hodousek says he headed for the men's room and vomited. He then took a picture of the condom that had been wrapped in a napkin with his cell phone.

Hodousek says he left the restaurant with the condom, despite the manager's request to leave the condom behind. The manager also told the Hodousek family that their meal would be "complimentary."

Hodousek says he had many sleepless nights following the incident and worried about whether he had contracted any disease from chewing on the condom.

Hodousek had the condom tested by Lab Corp in North Carolina. The preliminary tests revealed female DNA. He says officials with Irvine based "Claim Jumper Enterprises" have also been given the condom to perform their own tests, the documents reveal.

Hodousek's attorney, Eric. V. Traut, says his client decided to file a lawsuit because he felt officials at Claim Jumper were not working to identify the person responsible for putting the condom in the soup.

Hodousek is seeking general damages, specific damages for medical services, medication, drugs, psychological treatment, loss of earnings, and the cost of filing the lawsuit.

Joan Gladstone, a spokeswoman for Claim Jumper Enterprises, Inc. says the lawsuit is baseless and "they have found no evidence to support the claims made by Hodousek".

Claim Jumper Enterprises has released the following statement:

We have found no evidence to support any of the allegations in a complaint filed by Mr. Zednek Philip Hodousek against Claim Jumper on July 21, 2009.

When Mr. Hodousek said he found a foreign object in his food on April 12, 2009, he took it with him when he left the restaurant. We take customer complaints very seriously and immediately began an investigation.

We interviewed our employees at the restaurant and found no evidence of wrongdoing. Due to the seriousness of Mr. Hodousek's allegation, we then retained an independent investigator. The investigator completed his investigation on April 23, 2009. The investigator also concluded that there was no wrongdoing by any employee.

In an effort to complete our investigation, we contacted Mr. Hodousek and his attorney numerous times over the next six weeks to request that the object be sent to an independent laboratory for testing.

Seven weeks later, on June 1, 2009, the object was finally forwarded to an independent lab. Because Mr. Hodousek took the object with him on April 12, we could not establish that this was the same object the lab received.

In addition, Mr. Hodousek asked us to conduct DNA testing of female employees at the restaurant to determine if there could be a match to any DNA that might be found on the object.

While we are mindful of our employees' privacy rights, we asked our female employees to voluntarily comply with Mr. Hodousek's request and they have done so.

To ensure a thorough assessment, we asked Mr. Hodousek to take a DNA test. Mr. Hodousek failed to appear for his appointment on July 20, 2009. Mr. Hodousek's attorney filed the lawsuit against us on July 21.

We thoroughly investigated Mr. Hodousek's claim. We do not believe Mr. Hodousek's lawsuit has any merit and will fight this allegation.