Texas family suing McDonald's after allegedly finding dead rat in salad

A man is suing a McDonald's restaurant, claiming his wife and the family's live-in baby sitter found a dead rat in a salad they took home and had begun to eat.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in state district court seeks $1.7 million (Ђ1.34 million) in damages, The Dallas Morning News reported on its Web site.

The lawsuit was filed by Todd Haley, the assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys football team, on behalf of his wife Christine and the family's au pair, Kathryn Kelley.

A message left for McDonald's Corp. spokesman Walt Riker on Thursday evening was not immediately returned.

According to the lawsuit, Christine Haley and Kelley had eaten part of the salad purchased June 5 at a McDonald's in suburban Southlake before the rat was discovered. The women became violently ill and endured long-lasting physical injuries, the lawsuit said.

Believed to be a juvenile roof rat, the rodent was about 6 inches (15 centimeters) 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 did not find it 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 investigate. The suit was filed after the restaurant did not follow through on promises "to make things right," he said.

Ken Lobato, owner-operator of the McDonald's in Southlake told the Morning News that he had not seen the suit and could not 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.