Businesses are sometimes sued by customers who slip and fall on a wet floor or, because of snow or ice, on a slippery walkway.
A recent lawsuit in Kane County cites a different culprit: peanut shells.
A Roselle woman recently filed a lawsuit against Nick's Pizza and Pub in Elgin, arguing she slipped and fell Jan. 23, 2016, on peanut shells while walking on a ramp.
Nancy Zappia seeks more than $50,000 in damages, arguing the staff was negligent in allowing shells to accumulate on an inclined ramp.
Patrons at Nick's Pizza are offered in-shell peanuts and sweeping empty shells on to the wood floor is encouraged and part of the pub's tradition and branding efforts.
Paul Millewich, the woman's attorney, acknowledged some people may view the lawsuit as "frivolous," adding his client's injuries were so severe she incurred more than $75,000 in medical bills.
"Because of her fall, she had to get a cervical fusion (surgery) redone. She's out of the hospital but not in good shape," Millewich said. "Peanut shells on a flat surface are one thing. Peanut shells on an incline, on a ramp, that's dangerous."
Restaurant owner Nick Sarillo declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit but said he was not frustrated about it.
"Kids love the environment. Adults love the environment," Sarillo said. "The peanut shells actually make the (wood) floor less slippery, but the perception is shells can make people slip. We're not doing anything wrong or doing anything to hurt anybody."
Sarillo said the lawsuit will not force him to abandon the peanut policy. "You do your best to have something unique and different, and as things start to go well, next thing you know you have a target on your back with some people," he said.
The two sides are next due in court April 17.