A Camp Meeker woman is suing McDonald's after she said she bit into a Chicken McNugget and cracked her tooth on something hard, possibly a bone.
Sara Binder, 30, is seeking damages from the fast-food chain as well as Bay Area franchise owner Robert Mendes and Tyson Foods Inc. that her lawyer said could climb into the millions of dollars.
Her suit stems from a 2010 trip to the Sebastopol McDonald's drive-up window. Binder said she bought a 20-piece McNuggets meal for herself, her daughter and husband and pulled to a nearby parking lot to eat.
That's when she said she bit into something that broke her molar.
"It was just hard like a rock," she said, recounting the experience in her lawyer's office Wednesday.
Within minutes, Binder said she returned to McDonald's with the half-eaten McNugget, her cracked tooth and the object.
She said she handed the items to an employee named Yolanda Flores who promised to look into the matter and get back to her.
But Binder said days passed without any word from Flores or McDonald's. Finally, she reached a company official who offered her $1,000 to cover her dental costs, she said.
Binder said she didn't accept it, in part because she lost a second molar and had racked up a bill of more than $14,000.
Also, she was pregnant and couldn't be X-rayed, she said.
She said her condition worsened until she developed a bacterial infection. Last fall she collapsed of a heart condition she believes is related to her dental problems.
Doctors installed a pacemaker in Binder's chest at a cost of nearly $100,000.
Now, when she confronts McDonald's, she said the company denies the incident ever happened.
"I really don't appreciate the way they've been treating me," Binder said.
McDonald's would not discuss the case. In discovery, the company produced an insurance report confirming the Oct. 27, 2010, incident.
"The quality and safety of our food and the satisfaction or our customers are our top priorities and for those reasons among others we take this matter seriously," David Martinelli, a regional spokesman for the company, said in an email.
Binder's lawyer, Robert Nellessen, said it's unclear exactly what was in the McNugget. It could have been any foreign body -- such as other chicken parts, a piece of manufacturing equipment or an employee's jewelry -- that fell into the food during processing or cooking.
McDonald's said they can no longer find the hard piece entrusted to them, Nellessen said.
Nellessen said McDonald's is less than honest about the product. He said it contains only 43 percent chicken and is loaded with byproducts and other chemicals.
"After initial processing, McDonald's 'chicken' is in reality highly unappetizing, requiring adulteration of approximately 100 percent of additional products to make it edible," Nellessen wrote in the suit. "McDonald's knows this."
He vowed to take the case to a Sonoma County jury and seek compensatory and punitive damages up to $2 million.
"You can't destroy a 28-year-old woman's life and act like it's her fault for buying your product," Nellessen said.
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