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Who is William Cronnon? Cracker Barrel net worth explored amid $9.4 million lawsuit over customer being served bleach

Representational image of Cracker Barrel in Louisville, Kentucky (Image via Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Representational image of Cracker Barrel in Louisville, Kentucky (Image via Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Abhirup Sengupta

Restaurant chain Cracker Barrel was ordered by a jury to pay over $9.4 million to a Tennessee man after he was served bleach. The jury verdict was part of the lawsuit filed by plaintiff William Cronnon, who sustained permanent injuries.

As per court documents, Cronnon visited the restaurant in Marion County in April 2014, when he was served a mixture of commercial bleach Eco-San and water. Following this, the plaintiff received treatment from the ER and suffered from gastrointestinal issues including pain-inducing cramps, diarrhea, and more.

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A press release from law firm Bailey & Greer, who represented Cronnon, claimed that the Tennessee-based restaurant chain denied serving the plaintiff bleach throughout the lawsuit. The restaurant apparently used the serving water pitchers to mix bleach and water to clean soda machines.


What is known about William Cronnon and his lawsuit against Cracker Barrel?

William Cronnon was having lunch at a Cracker Barrel in Marion County, TN, in April 2014, when he took a sip of what he believed to be water, ‘only to immediately realize that it was not iced water but was some chemical that caused a burning sensation in his mouth & esophagus.’

The lawsuit stated that 68-year-old William Cronnon felt a “burning sensation in his mouth and esophagus” after ingesting what he thought was ice-water. It has also been confirmed that the Tennessee native continues to suffer from these issues till date.

William Cronnon was referred to as “John Smith” in the press release by the law firm. According to the document, he supported himself while attending high school by working jobs at night. Cronnon reportedly worked his way “to the top” of a textile factory. He reportedly had to quit after being unable to continue his job following his injuries. However, Cracker Barrel’s representative argued that he had left as the textile factory went bankrupt.

Initially, Cronnon demanded $150,000 in damages but the jury awarded him $4.3 million as compensation for his injuries by the restaurant chain. The lawsuit also fetched additional compensation of $5 million for punitive damages, bringing the total to $9.4 million.

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The state of Tennessee has capped economic damages at $750,000. So he will reportedly receive $730,000 in economic damages, $1.46 million in punitive damages and $750,000 in non-economic damages, along with some additional compensation. The plaintiff is expected to receive around $4.5 million in total.


How much is Cracker Barrel worth?

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The restaurant company is worth over $3 billion, as evident from its stock prices in 2022. Last year, however, the firm was worth an additional billion. Cracker Barrel was established in 1969, and today, the chain is present in over 665 locations across the U.S., with over 70,000 employees.

Employees of the firm are estimated to make around an average of $7.25 (which is the minimum wage) to over $24 per hour. This is a fraction of what the chain's CEO Sandra B. Cochran received in 2019, which was reported to be over $6.9 million.


Edited by Sandeep Banerjee

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