This is the property of the Daily Journal Corporation and fully protected by copyright. It is made available only to Daily Journal subscribers for personal or collaborative purposes and may not be distributed, reproduced, modified, stored or transferred without written permission. Please click "Reprint" to order presentation-ready copies to distribute to clients or use in commercial marketing materials or for permission to post on a website. and copyright (showing year of publication) at the bottom.

Hindsight - 9 Years Ago

By Kari Santos | May 2, 2014

Law Office Management

May 2, 2014

Hindsight - 9 Years Ago

The case of the finger tip in the chili.

An announcement in May 2005 by San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis revived interest in a gruesome hoax that had transfixed the country. Davis said the fingertip that Las Vegas resident Anna Ayala claimed she'd found weeks earlier in a bowl of chili at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose actually came from an acquaintance of her husband who had suffered an accident. Brian Rossiter sold his fingertip to Ayala's husband for $100.

Ayala, who already had been charged in the case, eventually dropped her claim against Wendy's and ended up serving four years in prison for insurance fraud - though maybe an award for audacity was in order: "Suddenly, I chew something that's kind of hard, crunchy," she told ABC's Good Morning America early on. Ayala also was ordered to pay Wendy's $21,254,307 to compensate for profits lost to adverse publicity (see People v. Ayala, 66 Cal. Rptr. 3d 228 (2007)); her husband drew a sentence of more than twelve years on various charges.

A serial plaintiff - she had filed multiple questionable claims and lawsuits against corporations, employers, and other fast-food restaurants before taking Rossiter's fingertip to Wendy's - Ayala apparently didn't learn her lesson. She went back to prison in 2013 for filing a false police report about nonexistent assailants after her son accidentally shot himself.


Kari Santos

Daily Journal Staff Writer

For reprint rights:

Email for prices.
Direct dial: 949-702-5390

If you would like to purchase a copy of your Daily Journal photo, call (213) 229-5558.

Send a letter to the editor: