Salmonella expertNew Hampshire’s Supreme Court has upheld a $750K jury award for restaurant patron Brandon Stachulski who got sick after eating a hamburger at an Applebee’s restaurant and contracted salmonella. Stachulski’s complaint described him as incurring permanent gastrointestinal problems. Apple New England, which owns the restaurant, filed an appeal in 2017 saying there was insufficient evidence to prove Stachulski’s health problems. The restaurant company challenged Stachulski’s expert witness testimony as well as the amount of the award. The New Hampshire high court disagreed with Applebee’s arguments and found in favor of Stachulski. Applebee’s started business in 1980 in Atlanta, Georgia.

As of March 31, 2018, Applebee’s had 1,912 restaurants and a presence in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 12 other countries. Brandon Stachulski v. Apple New England, LLC, 2016-0692 (N.H. 2018) states:

The plaintiff, Brandon Stachulski, brought suit against the defendant, Apple New England, LLC, under a theory of strict products liability alleging that he contracted salmonella by eating a hamburger at the defendant’s restaurant, Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill, where he dined with his wife and brother-in-law in February 2014. The defendant disputed the allegation that the hamburger was the source of the plaintiff’s salmonella illness and asserted that the plaintiff’s pet lizard or other food sources could just as likely be the cause of his illness. Following a three-day trial in Superior Court (Schulman, J.), the jury returned a general verdict in the plaintiff’s favor, awarding him $750,000 in damages.

On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred by: (1) admitting unfairly prejudicial evidence; (2) admitting the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony; (3) submitting the issue of causation to the jury; (4) instructing the jury on awarding hedonic and future pain and suffering damages; (5) permitting the plaintiff’s counsel to make certain statements during his opening and closing arguments; and (6) denying its request for remittitur…

Having previously determined that this evidence was properly admitted and that it was proper for the jury to be instructed on hedonic and future pain and suffering damages, we conclude there was sufficient evidence and testimony to support the jury’s damages award.

Justia.com tells us that “strict liability suits are based on the responsibility of the manufacturer to sell products fit for use, and they can be brought even when the manufacturer used reasonable care. The injured plaintiff need only prove that a particular product was defective and that the defect was the proximate cause of his or her injury. Usually, both sides must retain experts to offer opinions about whether the product was defective” ForensisGroup offers product liability experts that specialize in a wide range of disciplines and areas of expertise. Contact ForensisGroup to find the right product liability expert who can analyze and opine on the fact pattern in your case.