Chattanooga area man suing Popeyes appears in court; case heading to trial

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Craig Barr, left, and David Barry, a local attorney representing Popeyes, are seen in Judge Gerald Webb's General Sessions Court room in the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Courts Building on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Barr is suing Popeyes for running out of its popular chicken sandwich.

A case involving an East Ridge man and Popeyes chicken will move to trial after the two sides appeared in court Monday morning.

Craig Barr, who owns a small business in the automobile industry, is suing the restaurant chain for running out of the popular chicken sandwich. He claims the company conducted false advertising, deceptive business practices and wasted his time.

"I'm probably going to take a settlement. I mean, what are you going to do, you know?" Barr told the Times Free Press.

On Monday, Barr and David Barry - a local attorney representing Popeyes - stepped into a hallway at the courthouse before appearing before General Sessions Court Judge Gerald Webb. Barr showed Barry photos that purportedly show damage to the parking lot at the Brainerd Road location. Barr has turned some of his focus away from the sandwich and toward damage to his vehicle that was allegedly caused while he was trying to get a sandwich.

Barry declined to comment. Popeyes has not responded to a request for comment.

Barr claims the $1,500 rims on his Mercedes were damaged and that he was humiliated when his friends laughed at him after the incident.

photo Staff photo by Mark Pace / Chattanooga Times Free Press — Craig Barr shows purported damage in the Brainerd Road Popeyes parking lot that he claims ruined the rim of his vehicle. Barr is suing the company for running out of the sandwich and damaging his vehicle.

"It's all combined," Barr said. "I know it was all a joke that it was all about the chicken sandwich and what not, but I mean, someone could seriously get hurt."

The sandwich became an unexpected online sensation in August, resulting in long lines and sandwich shortages. The company ultimately ran out of sandwiches nationwide, it announced, but not before Barr claims he wasted "countless time" trying to find one.

Barr estimates he took at least 10 trips to area locations on Broad Street, Highway 58, Brainerd Road and Ringgold Road. He drove from one location to the next, allegedly being told by employees that they were sold out and that he should try another store, he said. Barr claims Popeyes purposefully overhyped the product and under-delivered quantity to increase popularity and garner attention.

Barr is seeking $5,000 and hopes the delay will give the two sides enough time to reach a settlement.

"That's exactly it," he said.

The court appearance came just hours after the fast-food chain officially announced the sandwich will be returning to its stores this Sunday.

Barr, who has yet to try the sandwich, plans to buy one, he said, "if I can do it safely."

The trial is expected to get underway in January.

Contact Mark Pace with questions, comments, concerns or story tips at or 423-757-6659. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook at ChattanoogaOutdoorsTFP.