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Condom-in-soup lawsuit settled

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Restaurants and catering
Los Angeles (California)

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Seafood restaurant chain McCormick & Schmick's Monday settled a lawsuit brought by a California woman who said she suffered severe emotional distress after she discovered a condom in her clam chowder, a company spokesman said.

The settlement was reached the day the Portland, Oregon-based chain was to go to trial in Santa Ana, California. The settlement terms are confidential.

"The case has been resolved... in its entirety in a manner acceptable to both sides today," McCormick & Schmick's spokesman Brian Douglas said. "The parties have chosen to resolve it without further court intervention. Both sides are happy with the outcome."

The privately held company, which operates 42 restaurants nationwide, maintained that Laila Sultan's claims that she suffered anxiety and depression were "frivolous."

"We still believe that's the truth but in this day and age it's the price of doing business," Douglas said. "You have to deal with scenarios like this."

Sultan's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sultan, 48, said the trouble began February 26 when she and three companions sent their soup back to the kitchen to be reheated while dining at the Irvine, California, restaurant.

Sultan said she was treated rudely by the waiter, and when she began eating the soup she encountered a chewy, rubbery object that she first thought was calamari or shrimp, she told local media. She spit the offending object into her napkin and discovered it was a rolled up condom, she said.

"I said, 'Oh my god' and ran into the bathroom with another friend of mine and I started throwing up," she said.

The restaurant chain launched an investigation but had no idea how the condom got into her soup, Douglas said.

McCormick & Schmick's reported year-end gross revenues of $200 million, Douglas said.

Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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