Cowboys coach claims family found dead rat in McDonald's salad

Thursday, October 26th 2006, 10:23 pm
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ Dallas Cowboys passing game coordinator Todd Haley is suing a suburban McDonald's after claiming his wife and their family's au pair found a dead rat in their salad.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in state district court seeks $1.7 million in damages, The Dallas Morning News reported on its Web site.

In addition to Haley, who got in a well-publicized shouting match with Terrell Owens earlier this month, the suit was also filed on behalf of his wife Christine and the family's live-in babysitter, Kathryn Kelley.

The dead rodent, believed to be a juvenile roof rat, was about 6 inches long and was found on its back with its mouth opened, Scott Casterline, a spokesman for the family, told The Associated Press.

He said the women didn't find the rat until taking the salad home to eat, and that a manager from the McDonald's ``didn't offer any comfort'' after driving to their house to see the rodent. The suit was filed after the restaurant didn't follow through on promises ``to make things right,'' he said.

``The family needs closure,'' Casterline told The Associated Press. ``It came to a point where you have to draw a line.''

A message left for McDonald's Corp. spokesman Walt Riker on Thursday evening was not immediately returned. Ken Lobato, owner-operator of the McDonald's in Southlake, told the newspaper that he hadn't seen the suit and couldn't respond.

``Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our customers,'' he said. ``We maintain the strictest quality standards. We take these matters seriously and are conducting a full investigation to get all the facts.

``In my years as an owner-operator, I've never seen anything like this.''

According to the lawsuit, Christine Haley and Kelley had eaten part of the salad purchased June 5 before the dead rodent was uncovered.

The women became violently ill and endured long-lasting physical injuries, the lawsuit said. Christine Haley, who was nursing, states she had to feed her baby with formula.

In the Cowboys' loss against Philadelphia on Oct. 8, Owens was seen screaming at Haley on the sideline. Owens later said his relationship with Haley was ruined, but then said after his three-touchdown game against the Texans on Oct. 15 that there was mutual respect between the two.