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In reference to a small claims matter:

San Francisco, CA |

I was in Safeway and a bird dropped some feces on my hat face and coat....I want to sue in small claims. Would I be suing for a personal injury? Do you think I have a valid claim?

Attorney Answers 5


I remember your situation from a little while back. In any case, in order to have a valid claim, you need to be able to establish that the supermarket was negligent in some way. And, negligence requires a showing of a duty on the part of Safeway to prevent bird droppings on customers, that they breached that duty, causation, and damages.

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Without negligence on the part of the store, it would tough to recover.

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It's difficult to imagine that you actually suffered an injury from bird droppings but, did this incident cause you to slip and fall or somehow otherwise sustain harm? Also, it is unusual to find a bird in a supermarket - Safeways are not usually open markets.

You probably do have a claim for damage to your hat and coat - if you could not remove the stain, the cost of replacement.

This is my opinion and should not be construed as legal advise for your specific case as there are many more facts which you have not provided.

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Besides being disgusted for a moment you have no damages. Not everything is a lawsuit.

Disclaimer: The foregoing answer does not create an attorney-client relationship with Attorney Cannella or her firm. This answer does not constitute legal advice, is provided for informational and educational purposes only for persons interested in the subject matter, is not legal opinion, nor confidential in nature. Each situation is fact specific and may be subject to state specific laws. Without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem fully.

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Assuming th Safeway didn't even offer anything for the cleaning of hat and coat, and in general you can not clean bird droppings that well, you should find out who to submit a claim for the cost of replacement or cleaning of your coat and hat. If they do not cooperate, send a demand letter, then file your small claims; you'll need some kind of evidence so if no one saw it and you did not report it to the Safeway, and did not keep your coat and hat, you have no evidence. Assuming you have the evidence, you'll also need documentation of cost of new hat/coat, or cost of proper cleaning.

The foregoing is for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as attorney-client advice.

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