An attorney who threatened to sue a North Texas restaurant over a bowl of soup says he’s now being threatened himself after his demand letter blew up on the internet.
Benji Arslanovski spends most of his day interacting with customers at the ‘Our Place’ restaurant in Mansfield. But on April 16, Arslanovski had just left when a customer came in about an hour before closing time and ordered his meal.
The restaurant menu says each meal comes with complimentary soup but only "while supplies last." Arslanovski says that day, the kitchen had just run out of the soup.
Attorney Dwain Downing says he asked the server if he could get a substitution or discount. Downing was told he could not -- per the owner's policy.
“It was only two in the afternoon and shouldn't have been out for the day,” said Downing. “At that restaurant, the customer is not right -- the owner is.”
Unhappy with the restaurant's handling of the situation, Downing sent a certified letter to Arslanovski demanding he pay $2.25 in damages, the monetary value downing placed on the complimentary soup and $250 in attorney's fees for the cost of downing writing his own demand letter. Arslanovski posted the letter on social media.
“I was shocked,” Arslanovski said. “I never had nothing like that happen so I wanted to see what other people had to say about it.”
The post went viral and the comments started pouring in.
“Next thing I know, I'm being threatened with my life,” said Downing.
Arslanovski says he does not condone violence and monitors his Facebook page for threatening comments against Downing.
“If anyone is doing that, I wish they wouldn't,” said Arslanovski. “That's not fair to him or his family.”
Arslanovski is trying to turn a negative into something positive by holding a food drive. He will offer customers who bring in a can of soup ten percent off their bill. In one day, he's collected over 150 cans.
Downing says he doesn't regret sending the letter but says the public backlash has him rethinking his next legal move.
“If you want to know if I'm going to follow up with a lawsuit -- probably not,” said Downing. “Those people who are cyber bullies might follow through and try and hurt me or kill me.”
The owner of ‘Our Place’ says he’s donating all of the cans of soup to area food pantries. He says if Downing does not move forward with the lawsuit, he will also donate the $250 in court costs to the food pantries, as well.
Downing says he’s leaning towards not moving forward but hasn’t ruled out the possibility.