Amid reports that hundreds of people have been sickened in 10 states connected to two second cyclospora outbreaks (one of those resulting from eating McDonald’s salads), it’s important to point out that food poisoning illnesses can result in liability of these restaurants and grocery store chains.
Recently one such case, Stachulski v. Apple New England, LLC, resulted with the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which affirmed a damage award of $750,000 in favor of a plaintiff who fell ill with salmonella after consuming a hamburger at defendant restaurant. Although ultimately ending in a favorable outcome to plaintiff, it highlights some of the challenges plaintiffs in food poisoning lawsuits may face.
According to court records, 29-year-old plaintiff, an HVAC technician, based his claim on a theory of strict products liability, explaining in his complaint he had dined at the restaurant with his wife and brother-in-law in February 2014, at which time he consumed a hamburger, which he alleged to be the source of his illness. He ordered the burger medium rare, and that was the start of the nightmare. (His brother-in-law too became ill, but recovered after a few days.) Plaintiff was hospitalized for a full week in intensive care when he first became sick. Even after he was released, he was unable to work for a full year due to uncontrollable bowel movements. He was embarrassingly on the toilet dozens of times daily, suffering kidney failure, shutdown of his liver and septic infection in his blood. Continue reading →