If a patron gets stung by, say, a wasp, while seated in a restaurant, can the patron sue the restaurant for pain & damages? Would an allergy to wasp stings make the case stronger? Would it matter if this occurred on the enclosed patio or indoors? And finally, would it matter if the sting was done by a random bee that somehow made its way onto the business premises, as opposed to the business being negligent about a wasp infestation occurring on their property (e.g., a hive/nest attached to the side of their building)?

(This is only a hypothetical question that occurred to me while seated on a patio and being pestered by a very persistent wasp.)

Apparently, there have been similar lawsuits in the past, with unspecified outcomes:

1 Answer 1


In New Zealand, employers have a duty to take all practicable steps to ensure their workplace is safe for employees and for others who come onto the premises (Health and Safety in Employment Act s6). So if there was a wasp nest and they didn't do anything about it, presumably they would be liable. If it was a random bee, I doubt they would be liable, because they couldn't practicably prevent a bee flying in if, say, someone opened the door. The state would have to charge the company as HSEA is a criminal provisions act.

If the plaintiff brought a claim based on the tort of negligence, they would have to prove that the company had a duty of care, breached that duty, the breach caused damage, and the damage was not too remote from the breach. The company does have a duty of care to their patrons. The standard for this is what a reasonable person would have done in the circumstances. If they didn't remove a wasp nest they may have breached their duty of care. The breach will have caused damage (a wasp sting). It wouldn't have been too remote since had they removed the wasp nest, the person wouldn't have been stung. However if a random bee flew in, the company probably wouldn't have breached their duty of care, and if the court found that they had, the damage would probably be too remote or not have been caused by them directly.

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