A New Jersey man has been awarded $750,000 after a surviving a sip of beer tainted with caustic chemicals that severely burned his esophagus and stomach and nearly left him for dead.
Richard Washart was awarded $650,000 for pain and suffering and $100,000 for emotional distress by a jury Friday, his attorney Paul D’Amato said, according to the Associated Press.
The incident happened at a McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant in Harrah’s casino in Atlantic City. Washart sued the restaurant, who in turn blamed a company it uses to clean its beer tap lines, Kramer Beverage Co. Harrah’s was not involved in the lawsuit.
Kramer Beverage denied being at the restaurant when Washart drank the beer on Nov. 6, 2012, but was still ordered to pay half the award along with McCormick & Schmick’s.
The restaurant’s parent company, Landry’s Inc., said it had done nothing wrong and will appeal the ruling.
Landry insists that Kramer Beverage “obviously made a mistake, which resulted in Mr. Washart’s claims,” according to the company’s general counsel, Steve Scheinthal, the AP reported.
“There is a problem in America today when you can do nothing wrong but still be found liable for the action of another,” he said.
“The trial evidence simply does not support the verdict against McCormick & Schmick’s,” Scheinthal added. “We will of course appeal the verdict and expect to be absolved of any liability in this matter.”
Washart claimed to have taken one gulp of the beer he was served and immediately began to feel burning pain, according to the AP.
After running to the bathroom he projectile vomited six times and could not drink water from the faucet because of the severe pain in his mouth and throat, according to the report.
Washart eventually began to vomit blood and went to the hospital where “a doctor said he had never seen a patient survive with such severe burns to the esophagus and stomach,” the AP reported.
Washart, a former Ocean City police lieutenant who resides in Seaville, was hospitalized for six days.