There’s more to the story of Walter Payton’s Roundhouse filing suit against a patron than originally came to light when we noted it yesterday. The version as first reported: a patron found a fly in his salad, sent it back and accepted a burger instead, and then went home and sent an email to 300 friends accusing the restaurant of poor hygiene. Cue the restaurant filing a defamation suit, the end. Except not quite — turns out there are some more details that are far juicier than we could have anticipated.
The details, it’s worth noting, all point to the Roundhouse being in a strong position. It turns out the patron in question (and the subject of Roundhouse’s lawsuit) is Manuel Maysonet, the Tribune reports. Besides being the sort of person who orders his chopped salad with barbecue sauce (an idiosyncratic choice of dressing, to say the least), Maysonet is also the assistant director of the Aurora Economic Development Commission — a man whose job is to support the patronage of Aurora businesses, not divert it. The email, sent from his official work email address, subject-lined “Health Warning,” and read like an official memo:
“The Kane County Health Department will be conducting an on-site inspection of Walter Payton’s Roundhouse after several complaints about flies within meals. Please stay away until the Kane County Health Department issues their official findings.”
The tables weem to be weighted against Maysonet: as the Wall Street Journal notes, in order for a defendant to defeat a defamation suit brought against him, he has to prove the truth of the alleged falsity. In this case, then, he’s got to provide affirmative proof that the fly was there. Should prove an interesting round of evidence, if nothing else.