Monika Samaan KFC
Several other family members also fell ill and they claimed Samaan’s injuries, which include severe cognitive, motor and speech impairment and spastic quadriplegia were caused by a KFC chicken Twister wrap.
She went into a coma in hospital and was so ill last rites were given.
The Supreme Court ruled in the family’s favour, finding that her sickness was caused by “a KFC Twister… consumed predominately by Monika and in lesser quantities by her family.”
Justice Stephen Rothman said the chicken became contaminated “because of the failure of one or more employees of KFC” to follow proper preparation rules, which he described as “negligent”.
“There is some evidence, which I accept, that some employees were unaware of the full consequences of a breakdown in the system that was to be implemented,” Rothman said in his judgment.
“Nevertheless, the conduct of the employee was negligent and KFC, as the employer, is vicariously liable for the negligence.”
An internal review of standards at the store in the months before Samaan’s illess assessed them at “breakdown” level, with particular criticism of hygiene and food preparation, Rothman said.
Though compensation will be determined in a separate hearing Rothman described the now wheelchair-bound Samaan’s injuries as being of a type and severity that were “most rare”.
“She is now intellectually disabled, is unable to function independently, she needs total care and she will be unable to live a life filled with normal activities, relationships, milestones and achievements,” he said.
“The plaintiff has been severely disabled at a very young age and as a result of her injuries, it is clear she will never enjoy the normal life that was expected of her prior to this catastrophic event.” KFC said it would appeal the decision.
“We believe the evidence showed KFC did not cause this tragedy and, after reviewing the judgment and seeking further advice from our lawyers, we have decided to appeal Justice Rothman’s decision,” said KFC Australia spokeswoman Sally Glover.
“We feel deeply for Monika and the Samaan family however we also have a responsibility to defend KFC’s reputation as a provider of safe, high quality food.”
Monika Samaan fell ill with salmonella poisoning after eating a “Twister” wrap at a KFC restaurant near Sydney in 2005.
The poisoning left her wheelchair-bound and unable to speak.
KFC said it was “deeply disappointed” by the decision and would appeal.A judge of the Supreme Court of the state of New South Wales awarded the A$8m damages after ruling last week that KFC had breached its duty of care to the girl.
The family’s lawyer, George Vlahakis, said they were relieved by the decision.
“Monika’s severe brain damage and severe disability has already exhausted the very limited resources of the family,” he said.
“Monika is now a big girl and they are finding it increasingly difficult to lift her and to look after her basic needs as well as look after Monika’s younger siblings.
“The compensation ordered is very much needed. KFC have to date been determined that Monika does not receive a cent.”
KFC, which is owned by Yum! Brands, expressed surprise at the judge’s ruling, insisting the evidence did not show it caused Monika’s disability. It has indicated it will appeal.
“We feel deeply for Monika and the Samaan family. However, we also have a responsibility to defend KFC’s reputation as a provider of safe, high-quality food,” a company manager said.
The court was told that Monika was in a coma for six months after she, her parents and brother fell ill with vomiting and diarrhoea after sharing the wrap, the AAP news agency reports. The other family members all recovered.
The incident took place in 2005, when the then seven-year-old girl named Monika Samaan, her parents and her brother consumed a Twister Wrap meal, which was shared by the entire family. They stopped over at a KFC joint near Sydney and shortly after eating the meal, all of them became sick. They were taken to the hospital and there it was discovered that the entire family had been poisoned with salmonella. The girl's parents and brother recovered, but she did not and was left brain damaged for life.
Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC is owned by a Kentucky-based brand by the name of Yum!, and their rep said that it was a tragic case but also that the management was "deeply disappointed and surprised by the decision" and would appeal against it. The company denied being responsible for the girl's condition and even challenged her family's claims during a four-week long trial. However, the company lost the case as a New South Wales Supreme Court judge ruled the case in favor of the Samaan family. The judge said that KFC had breached its responsibility of providing care to the girl. The judge said that the company would now have to pay the girl's family $8.3 million in damages as well as court costs.
According to the lawyers of the Samaan family, the girl's illness had exhausted the very limited resources the family had and hence the settlement was truly deserved by the family.
Monika Samaan has remained in coma for six months and in the hospital for a total of seven months.
Apparently, the chicken Twister wrap Monika Samaan ate was infected with salmonella, which caused a blood infection and brain injuries. The infection led to severe cognitive, motor, and speech impairments and the family has had to spend all of their limited resources to care for her as well as their other children.
A judge ruled last week that the fast food chain pay $8 million to the family, who say they all got sick after eating the tainted chicken and are glad the battle is finally over. The courts found KFC liable after determining that one or more employees was negligent in the preparation and handling of raw meat.
Although this incident happened several years ago, the news of the settlement has made its way around the web, and with the recent “mad cow” scare in California, many people are starting to look at their eating habits a little differently. The truth is, we take our chances every time we eat food that someone else has prepared, and it’s a terrifying notion that what you choose for lunch one day could lead to such devastating consequences.
Monika Samaan was seven years old when she fell seriously ill with salmonella poisoning after the meal in October 2005.
The Supreme Court of New South Wales heard that the girl’s parents and brother also fell ill with vomiting and diarrhoea after sharing the KFC chicken ‘Twister’. Samaan’s illness was by far the most severe of the family and she spent six months in a coma, suffering organ system failures and septic shock.
She has since suffered severe cognitive and motor impairment, and in unable to function independently.
KFC denied that the Twister had been purchased by the girl’s father at the time he claimed, and denied that such food was unsafe for consumption.
The court ruled last week that KFC had breached its duty of care. Today, the court ordered KFC to pay AUS$8.3 million (€6.5m) in compensation plus costs to the family.
The company is expected to appeal, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
A lawyer for the family said they welcomed the court’s decision and they had exhausted their own very limited resources already in caring for their daughter.