One of the largest cases of food poisoning in recent memory has resulted in a substantial jury verdict against the restaurant responsible.
The case involved a fast-food restaurant specializing in breakfast food. More than 125 patrons of the restaurant came down with salmonella poisoning over a three month period. Salmonella is a dangerous form of food poisoning that can cause those affected to suffer severe stomach pain and diarrhea. Serious cases can require hospitalization and even lead to death.
The salmonella outbreak was traced to several possible sources in the restaurant, including syrup pitchers (which employees said were routinely not washed before being refilled and reused) and a water bath used to warm syrup bottles. A number of restaurant employees who handled the pitchers also tested positive for the salmonella toxin.
Many of those who had been sickened became quite ill, and several almost died. As a result, a number of the injured customers brought a civil lawsuit against the restaurant. About half of the plaintiffs settled their claims for undisclosed amounts before trial.
The restaurant agreed to pay the remaining claimants’ medical bills and the wages they lost while sick, but it disputed the amount it should have to pay for their pain, seeking to show that at least some of their suffering was attributable to their prior medical problems. The matter was submitted to the jury, which awarded the remaining 10 plaintiffs a total of $1.4 million for their pain and suffering.