Restaurant Safety on Doctor Who

Doctor Who is back! And this time, with great lessons in restaurant safety!

The Doctor’s 13th Regeneration exploded in Deep Breath with a dinosaur, the names of the Dwarves from Snow White, and a huge homage to the Brigadier’s final line in Planet of the Spiders. Adding to the coolness, Jenny had a steampunk looking device on her hand to detect time travel. Moreover importantly, the Doctor recognized his reflection and asked himself “Why did I choose this face?”

DoctorWho_SalamanderHow to Serve Human

Let’s talk about Mancini’s Family Restaurant: The restaurant served liver for starters, brain stem and lungs for the main course, and sides of eyes and spleen. Skin for dessert, naturally.

The first law of restaurants: do not kill your guests; second rule, do not harvest their organs; third rule, do not use guests to make robots more human.

The goal of having a restaurant is winning new customers repeat business to be profitable. Homicide is an extreme deterrence to both of those goals.

A restaurant is “any eating establishment which offers food for sale to the public.” Colony Nat’l Ins. Co. v. Hing Wah Chinese Rest., 546 F. Supp. 2d 202, 207 (E.D. Pa. 2008). Moreover, a “retailer who sells unwholesome food for human consumption is liable to the consumer for the consequences under an implied warranty imposed by law as a matter of public policy, even though . . . the retailer has no means of knowing that the contents are unfit for human consumption.” Ayala v. Bartolome, 940 S.W.2d 727, 729 (Tex. App. Eastland 1997).

Someone who runs a public business like a restaurant is “subject to liability to members of the public while they are upon the land for such a purpose, for physical harm caused by the accidental, negligent or intentionally harmful acts of third persons . . . and by the failure of the possessor to exercise reasonable care to (a) discover that such acts are being done or are likely to be done, or (b) give a warning adequate to enable the visitors to avoid the harm, or otherwise to protect them against it.” Lopez v. McDonald’s Corp., 193 Cal. App. 3d 495, 506 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 1987), citing Peterson v. San Francisco Community College Dist., 36 Cal.3d at p. 807, quoting Rest.2d Torts, § 344.

In a nightmare case where a massacre took place at a restaurant, summary judgment was granted for the restaurant, because the “restaurant’s duty to take reasonable precautions to protect patrons from reasonably anticipated criminal conduct of unknown third parties did not encompass the burden to protect against once-in-a-lifetime massacres. The likelihood of the unprecedented murderous assault was so remote and unexpected that, as a matter of law, the general character of the restaurant’s nonfeasance in not providing security did not facilitate its happening.” Lopez v. McDonald’s Corp. (1987, Cal App 4th Dist) 193 Cal App 3d 495, 238 Cal Rptr 436, 1987 Cal App LEXIS 1913.

Clockwork_Blue_0045Mancini’s is not a case where a third party caused harm to someone going out for lunch, but an elaborate trap to murder people for their organs. It is not a restaurant, but a criminal enterprise organized by Clockwork robots from the 51st Century that crash landed on Earth over 65 million years ago on the Marie Antoinette. While tacking health and safety code violations to the criminal complaint would be gravy (provided late 19th Century England had such laws), the Clockwork Robot’s plan is like a criminal conspiracy to commit murder (if a robot can be charged with murder).

Now, did the Doctor push the Clockwork Robot out of the escape pod? This would make the Thirteenth Doctor (Counting the War Doctor) a lot like the Sixth Doctor, who killed the Androgum Shockeye in the Two Doctors. If the Doctor did push the Robot out of the escape pod, it was done under the defense of others to save his Companions from being killed. Moreover, killing a robot arguably is not the same as killing a person, thus not murder, but destruction of property.

Unless all robots go to Heaven, which makes our Clockwork Robot a lot of Pinocchio.

DoctorWho_Paradox_8703

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Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.