KFC to pay multi-Million AUD compensation
Posted on Thursday 10th May 2012
A SYDNEY father who claimed his daughter was left severely brain damaged from salmonella poisoning after eating a KFC Twister has won a court battle against the fast-food chain.
The family of Monika Samaan brought a multimillion-dollar compensation bid against KFC in the New South Wales Supreme Court, claiming the then seven-year-old became ill after eating the chicken wrap in Sydney's west in 2005.
KFC denied the claim but this afternoon Justice Stephen Rothman found in favour of the family in the NSW Supreme Court.
KFC has vowed to appeal the ruling.
In a statement, the restaurant said the case was clearly tragic but they were "deeply disappointed and surprised" by Judge Rothman's 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," KFC Australia's chief corporate affairs officer Sally Glover said.
"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."
In their statement, KFC did not refer to the judge having made any assessment yet of the damages to be awarded to the family.
During a four-week trial in 2010, Monika's father Amanwial Samaan told the court he and his wife Hanna, son Abanou and Monika all fell ill with vomiting and diarrhoea after sharing the Twister.
Monika, who was in a coma for six months and in hospital for seven, is effectively now a quadriplegic and severely brain damaged.
She took the NSW Supreme Court action through her father.
KFC's lawyer, Ian Barker QC, argued there "never was a shared Twister" because there was no sales data to prove the family purchased it.
"You did not tell anyone at the hospital, when you were there between October 27 and 29, that you had shared a KFC Twister that Monday," Mr Barker said in the NSW Supreme Court in July 2010.
"Because there was no direct question at me," Mr Samaan replied.
He also accused Mr Samaan of thinking KFC "might be an easy target".
But the family's barrister, Anthony Bartley SC, presented evidence about KFC food practices that were "disturbing and unsettling".
"If the store was particularly busy, then even if chicken dropped on the floor... it was on some occasions simply put back into the burger station from where it had fallen," he said.
He told the court Monika, who had been a bright girl, could now feed herself to a limited extent but wears a nappy and goes to a special school.
Her father had given up his job as a forklift driver so he could help look after her.
The judgment was not listed for delivery at the NSW Supreme Court today but a decision was handed down unexpectedly about 4.30pm, a KFC spokesperson said.
KFC said it would not comment further on the matter as it is now on appeal.