Condom in soup case reaches settlement

SANTA ANA — A Mission Viejo man who claims he chewed on a condom while eating french onion soup has settled his lawsuit against an Orange County Claim Jumper restaurant.

The amount of Wednesday's settlement was not disclosed. Both sides said the deal indicates no admission of liability on either side.

The suit by Philip Hodousek, 51, sought unspecified damages and a public apology from the Irvine-based restaurant chain and any vendor associated with making the soup, according to his attorney, Eric Traut.

Traut provided a statement on behalf of both sides, saying: "Claim Jumper sincerely regrets, and apologizes for, statements which have appeared in the media which have cast Mr. & Mrs. Hodousek in an unfavorable light. With the conclusion of this litigation, Claim Jumper wishes the plaintiffs well and sincerely hopes that they are successful in putting this regrettable incident behind them."

According to court documents, Hodousek and his wife, Sherry, along with their then 18-year-old daughter, went to the Claim Jumper restaurant in Mission Viejo to enjoy an Easter brunch on Sunday, April 12, 2009.

Hodousek said he ordered several items, including a bowl of french onion soup.

As he ate the soup, he felt what he believed was a tough piece of cheese on the side of his mouth. When he couldn't chew it into pieces, he told his family that it felt like rubber, according to the court filing.

Hodousek says he spit it out into his napkin, at which time his wife said, "Oh my God, it's a condom." Hodousek says he then vomited in the men's bathroom.

After speaking with the server, the restaurant's general manager, Marc Hadley, came over to the table and explained that the item was a rubber glove used by employees to prepare food. He apologized, the documents state. Hodousek insists upon further investigation it was determined the item was not a rubber glove, but clearly a condom.

Hodousek snapped a picture of the item with his cell phone, wrapped it in a napkin and took it with him.

Hodousek had the condom tested by Lab Corp. in North Carolina, and preliminary tests revealed female DNA.

According to Traut, Claim Jumper Enterprises Inc. conducted its own tests but has not provided all the results.

Last July, Hodousek admitted to owing the state and federal governments nearly $300,000 in back taxes and penalties, but said his debt and the restaurant incident are unrelated, the Orange County Register reported.

Traut later told the Register, "the IRS was wrong ... the negotiated amounts total less than $15,000."

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