This did not happen to me, but to a family friend who works as a waiter. I'm researching, should I fall into a similar situation:

A customer and the waiter get in an argument, to which the customer responds by throwing scalding coffee into the waiter's face, burning him. The coffee was hot enough to cause 2nd degree burns, think painful peeling sunburn from forehead to neck, lasting for a few weeks.

After the incident, the employee tried to get the ID of the assailant to sue him, but he fled before police could arrive, and he hasn't been seen again.

My question is: What could the waiter have legally done to secure the assailant's ID? Could he use force to subdue and detain them? And would he be legally protected against their employer disciplining them for taking these measures?


The assailant had committed a crime. The waiter (or anyone else) could have arrested them and detained them until they could be transferred to lawful custody (police). Reasonable force is allowed.

  • As for whether they would be protected from disciplinary action by their employer, this would be a matter of policy. – jimsug Dec 10 '15 at 2:47
  • In Ohio, citizen's arrest is only available for felonies. Would this be a felony? – cpast Dec 10 '15 at 2:53
  • @cpast Given the serious nature of the injuries, I think it would reasonable for someone to believe that the the customer committed a felonious or aggravated assault, either of which are felonies in Ohio. – Ross Ridge Dec 10 '15 at 3:14

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