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Chili-Finger Woman's Lawsuit Spree

The woman who claims she bit into a human finger while eating chili at a Wendy's restaurant has a history of filing lawsuits — including a claim against another fast-food restaurant.

Anna Ayala, 39, who hired a San Jose, Calif., attorney to represent her in the Wendy's case, has been involved in at least half a dozen legal battles in the San Francisco Bay area, according to court records.

She brought a suit against an ex-boss in 1998 for sexual harassment and sued an auto dealership in 2000, alleging the wheel fell off her car. That suit was dismissed after Ayala fired her lawyer, who said she had threatened him.

But Ayala defended herself: "I've been dragged through the mud. We've been treated like animals. I've been through too much."

Speaking through the front door of her Las Vegas home Friday, Ayala claimed police are out to get her and were unnecessarily rough as they executed a search warrant at her home on Wednesday.

"Lies, lies, lies, that's all I am hearing," she said. "They should look at Wendy's. What are they hiding? Why are we being victimized again and again?"

Ayala acknowledged, however, that her family received a settlement for their medical expenses about a year ago after her daughter, Genesis, got sick from food at an El Pollo Loco restaurant in Las Vegas. She declined to provide any further details.

San Jose police have joined the Las Vegas police fraud unit in the investigation into how a 1 1/2-long fingertip ended up in Ayala's bowl of chili at the San Jose Wendy's on March 22. Ayala said Friday she had not yet filed a claim against Wendy's, and it was unclear whether she had filed suit against the franchise owner.

Wendy's spokesman Bob Bertini would not comment on the investigation Friday.

The company, however, maintains that the finger did not enter the food chain in its ingredients. The employees at the San Jose store were found to have all their fingers, and no suppliers of Wendy's ingredients have reported any hand or finger injuries, the company said.

On Thursday, Wendy's offered a $50,000 reward to anyone providing verifiable information leading to the positive identification of the origin of the finger.

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